Monday, June 28, 2010


Sarah Dylan Breuer on The Rt. Rev. Dr. Tom Wright:
I too am an alumna of St. Mary's Divinity College of the University of St. Andrews, and I'm not giving another dime to the university after this announcement.

Dr. Wright interviewed for a position in New Testament at St. Mary's/St. Andrews when I was a postgrad student there. He was the only candidate for the position who made much of his credentials as a true Christian as opposed (in his rhetoric frequently) to his credentials as a professor. And on the basis of the credentials he put forward as best, I recommended that he not be hired.

He treated professors at the college with respect. He answered their questions, laughed at their jokes, and made conversation with them happily.

He treated postgrad students as an annoyance, albeit one that could not be entirely ignored. He waved off their questions with a dismissive, albeit sometimes pithy, remark, and he did not engage any of us in conversation -- not even those of us on the interview committee, and not even when we tried.

He treated students training for ministry (which, at St. Mary's, were in the B.D. program) as completely invisible.

He treated university staff as if they had been rolling in manure for a week and were only there to inconvenience him.

He treated wait staff in restaurants, porters, and other working class people not affiliated with the university as radioactive -- both invisible and toxic.

I had read his work with deep and genuine appreciation for years before that, and I continue to do so to the extent that he remains true to his original scholarly foci. But I took his example as a negative cautionary tale.

I hope my own life and work are better for it. I've tried all that much harder to make my best work accessible, to work hardest on the things that the most people might read, and to treat with the most honor those who don't have the power to make me powerful but who do use their gifts to serve whoever's around.

I am very sad that St. Andrews, having rejected Dr. Wright for appointment based on his credentials before, is taking him on now -- after he's published the same three books in dozens of different forms, after he took a diocesan appointment and spent the best of his time and effort outside the diocese he vowed to serve, and after he appeared in Columbus to work against our polity while supporting at least tacitly efforts to undermine mutual recognition of orders supported by the Chicago-Lambeth quadrilateral.

Bishop Tom, I wish we could talk again. Since I'm still a lay person but now am not on a hiring committee, I doubt even more that you'd listen, despite the Windsor Report's admonition to do so. I'd still listen to you, though, if you wanted to explain how your treatment of "townies" coheres with your Christianity.
Sounds like a nice guy once he gets to know you.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Church of Nigeria teaches parish property belongs to the diocese

Bishop of the Lagos West Diocese, Peter Adebiyi is embroiled in a dispute with a parish within his jurisdiction. Here's what he has to say about who owns the property:
The Bishop faulted the decision of the St Paul’s council members to quit the Lagos West Diocese. “It is not possible. By the law that established my diocese, they cannot move out of the diocese except I allow it. If I don’t allow it, there is nothing they can do; the best they can do is to leave the church. That church is entrusted unto us.

“In Anglican church, if I come to your house and you give me a piece of land at the back of your compound and I accept, thank you, build a church and you are a member of the church, from that day you have automatically lost ownership of the land. If you are aggrieved and you want your land back, you have to go to court. If the court says the land should be given back to you, so be it otherwise the land belongs to the church.

“So, the land and the church belong to the Lagos West Diocese. Nobody can even cut a tree there without our authority. If they want to leave the church, they can carry themselves and leave. They can go and build another church and give it to any diocese they want but St Paul’s Anglican Church, Mushin, belongs to Lagos West Diocese,” the Bishop maintained.
Akinola makes an appearance in the dispute:
the council on July 8, 2009 severed all kinds of relationship with the Lagos West Diocese through a resolution, which was read to the whole congregation and adopted by the church. Apparently, the die was cast and the council decided to take the matter to the outgoing Primate of All-Nigerian Anglican Communion, The Most Rev Peter Akinola, who they thought would satisfactorily resolve the matter.

But their hopes, according to the council, were dashed when the Primate set up a committee of three provincial archbishops to address the problem. The committee comprised the Archbishops of Lokoja, Enugu and Kwara. That of Kwara incidentally is Bishop Adebiyi’s first cousin.

The decision to set up the committee was ab initio greeted with mixed feelings by the council, who had expected the Primate to call a meeting where they would come face to face with Adebiyi to resolve the matter.

Besides, the committee’s composition did not go down well with the council as the members reasoned that with Adebiyi’s cousin in the committee, the outcome was predictable.
The article was published in The (Nigeria) Sun, February 14, 2010.