Friday, October 17, 2008

Feeling a bit like Luke Skywalker...

This just in from the rumor mill...

I understand that today the "Episcopal" Standing Committee is meeting today in Fresno to Inhibit all of us rogue clergy - yes, all of us in the "Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin" who are now part of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. This "rumor" comes from +Jerry Lamb himself according to his webpage on the Episcopal San Joaquin Website. On it he says (dated 10/10/08):

"Friday of next week the Standing Committee meets in Fresno... The Standing Committee will also begin the canonical process of the Abandonment of Communion for those clergy who left the Episcopal Church and have aligned themselves with the Southern Cone or some other body. Clergy so charged will be inhibited, not allowed to function as an Episcopal Priest or be employed in an Episcopal Church. The clergy person has six months to recant and return to the Episcopal Church. At the end of the six months, the person will be removed from the ministry of this church. This action implies no moral judgment of an individual clergy person. It speaks only about the person’s relationship to the Episcopal Church. The person can of course function in another church that may recognize their ordination."

To be honest, this is something I expected would come much sooner than it has. Perhaps what is really driving all of this is that "inhibited clergy" don't count when it comes to achieving a quorum for Diocesan Convention in Hanford (of which they will be holding at the same time as our genuine Convention in Fresno next Friday and Saturday.

Be that as it may, I find it completely ironic that the Bishop who saw me through seminary, ordained me to both the Diaconate and Priesthood, and who watched me triple the size and assessment of my first parish in his diocese... will be the same Bishop to inhibit and eventually depose me for - of all things - Abandoning the Communion.

All of this reminds me of the confrontation between Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars movie, The Empire Strikes Back. Like Vader, +Lamb holds out his hand saying, "Join me... and together we can put an end to this destructive conflict!" Of course all of this happens while holding a charged lightsabre at Luke's chest. Regardless of the "relationship" between them, Luke won't be fooled in to forgetting the evil Vader really represents, as he says, "I'll never join you!"

Perhaps that comparison seems a bit harsh, but let's be honest. What the Episcopal leadership is doing is evil. They have denied the divinity of Jesus Christ, denied the necessity of the Atonement, denied the Holy Spirit inspiration of the Bible.... They have turned against and ignored their own Canon Laws to depose faithful Bishops, and are just pent on removing faithful orthodox believers from their parish churches through legal suits - even though TEC has never given any of them a dime to purchase or maintain their properties. Does any of that sound Gospel to you? It doesn't to me either.

Even more ironic is the fact that historically TEC has failed to deal with those who really denied the Christian Faith - like Bishops Pike, Spong, and Righter along with others. Yet, it is simply those who have and are standing fast on the tenets of Christian Faith who are now being inhibited and deposed.

So here's to feeling a bit like Luke Skywalker! TEC may think like Darth Vader, "You are beaten... it is useless to resist!" Yup. TEC is on the march denying the Gospel all the way around. Even so, the Episcopal Church today isn't the faith I grew up to know. Its not the church I was ordained in. And while TEC is quick to claim that those of us have broken our ordination vows by not acceding to the Canons of the Episcopal Church, that whole promise is nullified when a church abandons believing that the "Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God and to contain everything necessary for salvation." I'll never (re)join you. I will remain a faithful Christian Anglican.

So... let me just say this to Bishop Lamb and TEC: Whatever your actions are today it doesn't mean a thing. I'm not under your authority. I am a priest in good standing within the Anglican Communion under a recognized Bishop (no, bishop, Bishop Schofield has not been deposed!) in a fully functional and viable diocese. Your time would be better spent dealing pastorally with those who agree with you.

May God Bless and Forgive You. May God Bless and Forgive Us All!!!


Alan Rogers said...

Controversies such as this, Father Riebe, have led me to utterly reject Anglicanism in all its manifestations. I have been a member of both dioceses of San Joaquin, and think of them as tweedle- dee and tweedle-dum. Anglicanism has come full circle to its political origins under King Henry, and is nothing more than a bi-polar political machine, in spite of its representatives claiming to preach the "gospel."
I was confirmed at your parish in 1986. If there was a way to formally undo that now, I would. Thanks for your time.

Fr. John Riebe said...

Thanks for posting your comment Alan. I took some time to examine your blog and it appears that you've not only rejected Anglicanism but the Christian faith all together. That's sad.

I'm very sorry that you feel so strongly against what has happened in this Diocese, and I want you to know that our church is always open to you when and if you should return to the truth of Jesus Christ. Flowers, trees, and animals won't save your eternal soul. Only Jesus Christ can.

I pray for you my friend. May God Bless you in your search for Truth.


Alan Rogers said...

"..... it appears that you've not only rejected Anglicanism but the Christian faith all together...."

Beg pardon? Thanks for your caring comments, I think.
Since you don't know me, I doubt you can make such a determination. My blog pokes fun at organized religion, which I think has become a sad joke.
For the record, I have NEVER denied anything about Jesus Christ, his incarnation, death or ressurection.
Read your bible, Father. Jesus didn't get on well with the "church" of his day either.

Fr. John Riebe said...

Sorry if I misunderstood you... but as you don't know me either I find it odd that you seem so adimant to criticize. And gosh... I clearly need to read my bible, don't I? (presuming that I haven't already) And are you claiming that just because Jesus had issues with some of the Religious Leaders (yes, some of them, not all of them - I'd ask you to reread your bible too!) that justifies you in your thinking?

Let's be clear Alan... You are the one that has claimed "I've changed religions!!!" You also stated that if you could "undo" your confirmation vows you would. You were obviously misled (not surprisingly) about what confirmation is all about - contrary to popular thought, the Sacrament of Confirmation is not about "affiliating with a Church" BUT a "mature affirmation of your Baptismal Vows" - that is to say your own personal declaration that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior and everything else that ties to Baptism.

Maybe what you meant was: "I wish I'd never joined the Anglican Church and am now sorry I did so."

So be it... I can understand that... BUT that's not what you "said."

Incidently I am VERY pleased that you've not given up on Jesus Christ! Halleluia! And I am sad that you have given up on the Church (or maybe I'm wrong again - are you worshipping with another Christian body?) If you've given up on the Church, you've given up on Christ's instrument of salvation in this world - that's what the Ascension and Pentecost were all about. And certainly what St. Paul's mission was all about.

Let me just say I wish you well in your spirtual walk, and I pray that your frustration and anger against the church will someday be healed.

Again... thanks for commenting... I've enjoyed your challenging thoughts and comments. Blessings friend. Peace to you.

Alan Rogers said...

Dear Father Riebe
I initially got interested in your blog because of your most recent article regarding the presentment charges. I felt sorry for you that you were ordained by someone who is trying to un-do that now, and I thought how dis-illusioning that could be to you. Of course, that just fed right into the frustrations I have been carrying for almost 15 years against bishop Scofield, and more recently the "continuing" diocese.
Regarding your last comments, you are absolutely right about everything you said.
I realize it isn't fair for you to have someone who seems half-crazed come swinging at you out of some corner, who you haven't even met. The issues I have with the church are mine, and I shouldn't be projecting them onto you. For that, I humbly ask your forgiveness.
My blog has been my effort to diffuse these frustrations in a sarcastic, creative way. Perhaps there are more effective ways I could explore to try and get over things.
Again I am sorry for the painful experiences you described in your article, and I am sorry I allowed things to escalate from my corner.
Thank you for taking the time to interact with me.