Thursday, June 13, 2013

Tis the Season for Church Meetings (and Fake Twitter Accounts at the Same)

June and July are prime time for meetings of various church bodies. The Southern Baptist Convention, the granddaddy of such gatherings in the United States in terms of size and influence is going on as I write this and my friends in the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church concluded what was by all accounts their most harmonious meeting in a long time this afternoon. The Presbyterian Church in America's General Assembly  will be meeting next week in Greenville, South Carolina. My own Reformed Episcopal Church and Anglican Church in North America aren't meeting this summer and The Episcopal Church and the Presbyterian Church (USA) have the year off too, which is probably a good thing.

Being a bit of an admitted church geek I enjoy keeping tabs on some judicatories and Twitter is great for doing so; the Pope tweets and any who are inclined to follow me can do so here. It's a useful tool for up to date information, but it's not above giving rise to some (usually) good-natured mischief that can be quite entertaining. In this year's special election for Congress from the First Congressional District of South Carolina a myriad of fake accounts arose for various candidates (some of which were less than good natured) and a Twitter debate was even organized among the various fake accounts by Earl Capps. It seems that frequently tedious church meetings are also fertile ground for them as well. They can be entertaining and so what follows are some of the ones that I have followed, some of which are quite funny (although those not familiar with the back story may not fully get the joke); listing here does not constitute endorsement:

@PCA Liberal: It could probably also be called PC(USA) Conservative. "Intrigued by BioLogos, paedo-communion, female deacons, Karl Barth, NT Wright, to name a few." Other than paedo-communion I don't endorse any of those, but it can be entertaining.

@FakeARPClerk: Ostensibly the inner voice of the Rev'd Dr. Ron Beard, longtime Principal Clerk of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, who is a friend. This tweet was quite funny.

@ARPModerator: As is the case with the Pope's account, this one changes based on who holds the office. Except that it's not really real, but it is really amusing.

@ARP_Curmudgeon: Likes Marrow in his ham-bones and in his theology (the ARPs have taken fake Twitter accounts to a nearly unprecedented level, particularly on a per capita basis).

@herselfthebishop: No longer active, it was ostensibly from Dr. Katherine Jefferts Schori. There may have been a lawsuit, I don't know.

@ChrchCurmudgeon: Non-denominational and without specific geographic reference. I feel like I've known the guy, because I have.

@CelebrityPastor: By an unnamed megachurch pastor. Very funny.

If you appreciate satire, and I do, these feeds can be entertaining.

Friday, June 7, 2013

‘Is you is or is you ain’t my clergy?’ Local clergy called to decision

[From the June 2013 Charleston Mercury.]

By Charles A. Collins, Jr.

The oft-covered Louis Jordan song asks of a sweetheart “Is you is or is you ain’t my baby?” It’s a question that attempts to DTR – define the relationship — and recently the Rt. Rev. Charles vonRosenberg, provisional bishop of the Episcopal Church in South Carolina (the structure set up for the minority of parishes and clergy who wished to remain a part of The Episcopal Church after that body’s October move against the Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence and the Diocese of South Carolina) sought to do just that as he contacted each of the approximately 140 clergy who did not respond to his call to convention earlier this year and asked them to make their allegiance known. In a letter dated April 7, vonRosenberg cautioned that priests and deacons “face a very serious decision, with significant consequences” for them and the church and encouraged their careful and prayerful consideration.