March 30, 2009

Multivalent imagery

When marriage is analogized to the relationship between Christ and the church (or God and Israel) — God or Christ figured as the bridegroom and Israel or the church as the bride — it generally follows a monogamous model.

However, when the marriage is cast to reflect the relationship of the individual believer with God, it must perforce tend towards polygamy. Thus, in Jeremiah 31:32, God can lament that though he was "a husband to them," the people, individually and not just as a people have been unfaithful.

I was reflecting on this the other day in relation to the contrast between those of a more "catholic" ecclesiology versus those of a more "evangelical." (Pardon the imprecision of these terms.) The former sees salvation as taking place within the ark of the church, to such an extent that the old saying, "extra ecclesiam nulla salus" (there is no salvation outside the church) becomes a dominant theme. One is saved by becoming part of the corporate "bride" — and there is only one bride for the one Lord. The latter tends to see salvation as a more personal affair; in some cases rather radically so, the church perhaps taking the office of a kind of matchmaker, rather than the bride herself.

This might also relate to the general frangibility of protestantism.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG

March 27, 2009

Thought for 03.27.09

Love is the means by which two become one and yet are not alone.
—Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG

March 25, 2009

Message Received

She knelt beside the neatly planted rows
of cummin, dill, and mint. The clear March sky
was bright; a flock of birds flew high.
She pinched a leaf;
                    then, suddenly, she froze —
a voice had spoken. There was no one there.
It spoke a second time; she looked around.
“How can this be?” she asked the vacant air.
Once more it spoke, yet there was not a sound.
She paused again; her answer in her mind.

In thirty years and three, her words would find
an echo: “Not my will, but thine be done,”
said in another garden by her son,
while three friends slept.
                           So here none heard her words —
except an angel, a high flight of birds,
and three neat rows of cummin, mint, and dill:
“Be it to me according to thy will.”

April 7, 1989
Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG

written just under twenty years ago; first appearing in print on the cover of The Living Church in 1993, and on this blog in 2006. The icon dates from 1999.

March 22, 2009

Fruit of the Rule of Love

a review of Find Your Way Home: Words from the Street, Wisdom from the Heart; by the Women of Magdalene with Becca Stevens. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2008

The Rule of Saint Benedict is commonly credited with being one of the instruments by which Western civilization was supported and maintained through some difficult times in its early middle age. The Rule’s sanity, generosity, and above all, charity, are the means by which a community of persons can foster stability, through inward conversion from inordinate focus on the self towards living with and for others.

The remarkable elasticity of the Rule led to many adaptations and revisions — and reforms — down through the years. But I think that none even of the most ardent revisers or reformers would ever have conceived that an adaptation of the Rule would bring new life to scores of women who until that transformative encounter had been living on the streets as prostitutes and drug addicts. But as the old song says, grace is amazing.

A little over a decade old, Magdalene is a two-year residential and support community for women coming out of correctional facilities or off the street, from lives marked by abuse, prostitution and addiction. It began with the Reverend Becca Stevens, Episcopal chaplain at Saint Augustine’s (Vanderbilt University). She conceived of creating a safe place for women, a place not merely as a house but as a home. We all know there is a difference, a crucial one.

We also know how sadly true it is for the church both to get and to give the second-best (“I’m buying a new microwave so I’ll give the old one to the church...” You know how it goes.) Becca insisted that this home would be properly furnished, with decent furniture and a real comfortable living room, and bedrooms with beds with clean sheets. It would also be located in a residential district; not just outside the prison doors or the city gates. Soon one house grew to two and then another, as those who lived there truly found new life. Magdalene has expanded to include programs helping male first-time offenders understand and come to terms with how demeaning their use of women is, and the harm they do in contributing to a brutal system. Thistle Farms, a nonprofit maker of all-natural body care products, was launched in 2001. It is named for the hardy plant that is the sole survivor on streets the women walked in their former lives — and again in their new lives as angels of mercy helping other women to move from the old life to the new.

In Find Your Way Home the women of Magdalene recite their Rule and tell their story. In some ways reading this tender volume is like being present at a Greater Chapter, where by tradition the members of the Benedictine household would hear their Rule and reflect on it. True to Benedict’s own injunction that the youngest shall be heard, this collection of voices reflects the range of participants in the Magdalene households.

A major feature of these households is that they are not “run” so much as lived in. Although there are staff and volunteer supporters, it is the women themselves who form the community and learn to work out their differences within that community by following the Rule and living into it. Such is its generous charity that women who had been hardened by abuse — both by others and of themselves — have found themselves transformed by love.

The Rule itself, broken down chapter by chapter into short segments, is a wonderful adaptation of Benedict’s charitable and sane spirit. The reflections by the women of Magdalene that follow each section of the Rule form a powerfully moving recitation. Remember, for many of these women this will be the first time they have lived in a real home or experienced love from another person, or in some cases for another person. Imagine the experience of a woman fresh from prison being given a key to the front door and a room of her own with clean sheets on the bed. Well, you don’t have to imagine — her testimony is there for you to read. And it will move your heart.

I am tempted to cite other of passages but instead I simply urge you to obtain a copy of this short book. I began reading it on the subway on my way to a diocesan meeting and found tears running down my face as I read of the gratitude that woman felt on being given a key, as she knelt down to kiss the floor of her new home. There are many such moments of healing, thanksgiving, and transformation in this little book. It is a reassurance that God is at work.

The Rule of the women of Magdalene has something to say to us all as well. By that I mean all Christians, but particularly in these days of tension in the Anglican Communion, it is well to remember that Gregory the Great, who sent Augustine to England and so in some sense founded the Church of England, was an admirer and first biographer of Benedict. And so I will end this brief review with one of the chapters of the Rule to which I think it would do us all good to attend:

Chapter 8: Let God Sort It Out
In community our job is not to judge or say, “I told you so.” We trust that God will sort things out, so we don’t have to second-guess every decision someone else makes.
We are here to love one another in the most radical way possible, without judgment, and to pray that others can love us in the same way.
We give drink to the thirsty, food to the hungry, comfort to the sorrowful, clothing to the naked, and companionship to the imprisoned and dying. We wash one another’s feet.

Couldn’t the Anglican Communion learn something from the women of Magdalene? They have surely grasped an aspect of the life-saving, life-giving Gospel that many of us seem to have forgotten. It is not too late to learn from the thistle and its farmers, not too late to follow the example of the woman who loved much, rather than the Pharisee who sat in judgment.

— Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG

You can hear more from the women of Magdalene at the new blog, Voices of Thistle Farms.

March 20, 2009

Art and About

Happy to see that fellow internet chum Luiz Coelho and I both have works displayed in the current Episcopal Church and the Visual Arts on-line exhibit, Gifts. There are many beautiful, moving, and strong images in the collection, and I recommend a visit... Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG

March 19, 2009

Dada Kildare

Man, Woman, Birth, Death, Bicycle.

Tobias Stanislas Haller, filling in for Dr. Zorba

March 15, 2009

Anglican Maladies

being a compendium of certain illnesses afflicting many sectors of the Anglican world, and, of course, intended completely as satire.

Akinolism A bipolar condition marked by alternating bouts of bravado and sullenness, with periodic eruptions separated by longer quiescent periods. Patients exhibit inflated but easily damaged egos. (see “Peter’s Pout” and Abujamania.)

Benign apostate enlargement An inflammation of the apostate gland, caused by an aggravated sensitivity to differences of opinion. Passing the “stone of dispute” can lead to significant pain but causes no real damage.

Cancerburioma An invasive and metastatic form of anglicancer, which overtakes healthy tissue and produces numbness and rigidity after initial rapid growth. Seldom fatal, but leaves disfiguring scar tissue that impedes further growth. (see Nigerianoma, Acna Rosacrucia)

Covenant dermatitis Obsessive compulsive disorder in which the patient collects a number of similar but otherwise unconnected things and attempts to assemble a single new entity. Often treated by simply putting all of the objects into a single drawer with a neat label, which appears to relieve all but the most extreme cases. Popularly known as “The Itch.”

Griffith’s standfirmity A condition characterized by rigor and pallor, often mistaken for catalepsy or death; can be treated by application of cardiac warming and softening. Physical therapy is often useful in a full recovery of arm motion enabling a larger embrace.

Haller’s Complaint Condition first characterized by Griffith in 2009; a delusion in which the patient continues to believe himself to be part of a Christian church, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding. Incurable but not fatal. Best treatment is to ignore; will eventually go away whether treated or not.

Huntington’s Schoria A loss of balance induced by trying to be everything to everybody, leading to an inability to frame sentences capable of being understood in only one possible and acceptable way. Previously thought to be genetic, it now appears to be an occupational hazard. (See Rowanitis)

Loopus episcopaliensis Malady in which the patient thinks he can believe anything he wants. Condition becomes critical in bishops, causing them to turn purple and burst, spreading the infection further. (See Benign Spongiform Episcopalitis)

Myopinia Inability to see beyond ones own opinions. Condition has reached pandemic level in recent years; spread by the internet. Often produces unsightly growths known popularly as “blogs.” Efforts to produce a vaccine have so far been unsuccessful, as the virus mutates quickly or migrates to facebook or twitter. Seldom fatal but very irritating.

Pluralsy Condition characterized by bloating and loss of muscle tone, with fluid buildup due to inability to separate truth from error. (see Pluriforminoma, Griswoldism.)

Primatism Condition in which patient imagines himself to be an Archbishop even though he has no province. A number of cases have been cited in the past; at present isolated to the Pittsburgh area. CDC warns it may spread if encouraged, or even if not.

Rowanalgia State of restive dissatisfaction with unclear or vacillating leadership.

Rowanitis Rare (seldom striking more than one person at a time); a form of aphasia in which the patient appears to be speaking rationally but on reflection no one can tell what the discourse means. Unusual in that it produces irritation only in others.

Wright’s Tic Condition in which an otherwise completely sane and healthy person is given to occasional irrational outbursts of short duration but great intensity, in which he appears to forget everything he knows in his field of expertise.

— Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG

UPDATE: A number of additional maladies have been reported.

Evangelicoids: varicose veins in the neck, usually on both sides. May be caused by straining at gnats, kicking at goads, or extended speaking engagements combined with air travel. Best treated with double radical inclusivity.

Hepatitus-1,9: mild form of jaundice caused by overexposure to multiple internet partners. Moving to a dry climate without wireless access appears to offer best prognosis.

Juvenile diatribetes: compulsive repetition of any reassertion, usually involving redundancy; a form of repetitive emotion disorder. Condition is exacerbated by contact with exposed blogs.

Ortheoporosis: a condition in which the patient is theologically debilitated. May result from a diet lacking in chalcedon and nicene. Not unusual in new age.

Pantheismia: psychosocial disorder characterized by disorientation and confusion, loss of theological rigor, and weakened evangelism. May be contracted everywhere, by all, at any time.

Whiteheads: unsightly, oily skin eruption thought to be caused by overexposure to process theology.

Finally, reported by Dr. Slope in the comments:

Tranverse blogitis: crippling desire to post on blogs which have an opposite point of view to your own.

March 11, 2009

The Book: Reference Index

Reasonable and Holy was to have gone to press last week. As I await word from the publisher on final print availability, I've been busily at work preparing indexes for it, and have posted the first at the blog of that name which will provide such additional resources, and continue the discussion. As I noted earlier, this book is meant to be part of the "listening process" and continued dialogue, so I want to keep that open through the technology of the internet.

The book itself, due to cost considerations (it ended up being forty pages longer than originally planned as it is) lacks an index. So I'm providing such resources at the blog, and will eventually post them also as pdf files which can be printed out and kept with the volume for reference. Having detachable indexes might be a handy tool in any case!

So the first index, of Biblical and Other References, is up at the blog. This will give an idea of the range of materials referenced.

--Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG

March 9, 2009

Responsible Journalism

I have just about "had it" with The Living Church. The well-spun reporting has been an annoyance for some time, and the editorials for even longer. But the March 15 issue reaffirmed my sense that the continual pot-stirring — coupled with less than accurate reporting and whining opining — is not serving the church well, even if it is keeping the circulation of the magazine going. People like controversy — at least the readers of TLC, anyway — but I think the kind of writing that regularly appears in the magazine these days is not serving the church well. As I noted in the former post, the questers after truth may think they are doing well by the church; but when they are less than accurate, and argumentative to boot — well, I don't see how this serves anyone well.

For example, in David Kalvelage's editorial column in this issue, we are once again treated to more hand-wringing about a lack of General Convention's formal adoption in recent years of a resolution affirming the uniqueness of Christ. O.K., to each his own issue, I suppose. I find the BCP to be more than adequate as a statement of the theological position of the Episcopal Church, and don't feel the need for General Convention to act as a theological assembly. In fact, I don't really think I want General Convention to act as a theological assembly!

However, what really annoyed me in Kalvelage's essay is his misquotation of the Presiding Bishop. He writes

In an interview with Time magazine, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori described Jesus as "a vehicle to the divine."

Note the placement of the quotation marks. Here is what the Presiding Bishop actually said; this being, by the way, the entire answer to the question:

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.

Some may say the difference between "a" and "our" is trivial. I don't think so. But I'm also ready to admit I don't like the language of "vehicle" — or of "getting to heaven" for that matter. But to put this answer in "my" language would be to say, "Christians understand Jesus as the means by which we are saved." Is that really unorthodox? I don't think so; in fact, I think it a fairly trivial observation that Christians believe themselves to be saved by Christ; that we "know God" through Jesus Christ. That's what makes us Christians.

It is the second part of the PB's response that raises the most hackles in certain circles, however. But does it rightly so? Do we in fact believe that "God cannot act in other ways than through Jesus" or that "God is unknowable in other ways than through Jesus"? That does not seem to be in keeping with the biblical witness either to God at work with the people of Israel, or even among the Gentiles through their perception of God at work in the natural world, as Paul said in Mars Field — though, of course, he also wanted to show them a more excellent way, and invite them into his "vehicle"!

There is, of course, also a more Christocentric way to read this doctrine; one that brings Christ back to the center; and I do think it a better reading than what the PB provides — so I'm not letting her off the hook entirely. (Then again, this was an interview, not an encyclical letter or a doctrinal thesis! And, to be fair, TLC is not a theological journal, and I'm finding fault with a misquotation in an editorial.) However, fair's fair, and just as it would have been better for Kalvelage to leave off the quotation marks or move them over by a word, so too it would have been better for the PB to affirm the doctrine that Christians also believe that Christ is the means by which God acts whenever God acts, and that when the world knows God — whenever and whereever God is known — it is Christ at work bringing the knowing. There are plenty of modern exponents of this notion, so one need not rely on the traces of this understanding in John's gospel, and in Paul's reference to the water-providing rock of the desert as "Christ." God in Christ is at work in spite of our ignorance of that work. All who are saved by God are saved by Christ.

This way of seeing God's saving work has some venerable tradition to back it up, as the early church wrestled with the issue of the virtuous who died before Christ's coming in the flesh, or who died after his coming but before hearing the saving gospel's proclamation. But as I say it has modern exponents such as Karl Rahner. Even C.S. Lewis, much beloved of evangelicals, cast his own metaphorical version of this in the final volume of the Narnia series, in which he reaffirmed the old doctrine that earnest seekers after God are found by God — God "overlooks" their specific errors on the basis of their general quest. God is, in fact, too big to put into any of our boxes.

And for that, I think we can all be grateful.

—Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG

March 8, 2009

Thought for 03.08.09

Inspired by seeing the film Goya's Ghosts with Javier Bardem, Natalie Portman and Stellan Skarsgård. A well-made but rather unpleasant film — not unlike some of Goya's grostesqueries — telling a tragic story of futility and abuse of power. It is a story of extremes and tyranny, and what people do to those with whom they disagree when unlimited power is placed in their hands. Anyway, here's the thought:

The Holy Office of the Inquisition through the years did more harm to the church and to the world than any of the heresies it sought to suppress.

One thing I learned in the film, of which I had been unaware, is that as late as the late 18th century the Church (which still hadn't officially come to terms with Galileo) was also combating atomic theory as heretical, as it contradicted Aristotle and his Christian agent Aquinas, and made transubstantiation difficult to explain. The motto, "Whatever the cost, hold to your illusions," could have been written for the Inquisition. Their failure to test ideology against reality was costly to the world and to themselves.

But this also set me on a train of further Lenten reflection, for it came to mind in conjunction with thinking about how it is that things in themselves good can be misused or misapplied to bad ends. Sometimes this is the fault of the true believer pressing a point beyond its legitimate logical limits — one of the definitions of heresy, and ironically one of the sins of the Inquisition.

Even worse is the cynical manipulator who knows what he or she is doing is a distortion of some true good, but has twisted it to personal advantage. Such distortion need not be so extreme as the Inquisitor who tortures and rapes to feed his own need for reassurance or power; or the Revolutionary whose persecution of the church is guided primarily by the need for vengeance. In the film, Bardem plays both — a tour de force, a dark portrait of power run amok.

So be watchful of those who trumpet democracy and equality, but set up their private fiefdoms all the while. Democracy and equality are, I think, good things -- but in certain hands they can become paradoxical tools for domination, as when some become "more equal than others." Ideals make excellent building material for labor camps -- and the charmer who can lord it over people to his own advantage while making them think they are acting freely in a great cause has achieved a sublimely wicked work of smoke and mirrors.

—Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG

March 6, 2009


Well, Proposition 8's fate is in the hands of the California Supreme Court.

They may overturn the whole thing on the basis of its restricting a basic human right; they may allow it to stand, but also permit the marriages conducted between the last decision and this one also to remain intact. Or they may go all the way and dissolve the marriages of the Starr-crossed lovers of the state of California and return them to the state of "fornication" — to use the old word for unmarried folks cohabiting.

In all of this, one of the common arguments about which we need to be alert is that providing civil marriage equality somehow treads on religious rights of others. It doesn't -- at all! No church will be required to perform any marriage contrary to the beliefs of the church — which would be an unconstitutional interference by the state. The problem we are facing now is religious folks as individuals and as religious bodies intruding themselves into the civil arena and treading on civil rights.

As the Woodpecker Song so eloquently says, "Get yer finger out of it; it don't belong to you!"

—Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG

March 5, 2009

Kudos to ABS

Happy to report after a phone conversation with the website and services department at ABS that "Anglican" now appears as a Primary Denomination in the directory creation panel. So a parish can now identify itself as primarily "Anglican" and secondarily "Episcopal Church." (I suppose one could do it the other way around, which might reflect one's view of the matter. This may be the ecclesiastical equivalent of Chicken and Egg, or the Dual Nature in One Person dogma!)

The tech officer also told me the reason for delays in responding to other complaints was due to a glitch in the help desk support ticket system. (Those who work IT will know what that means; for those who don't, think of the "Dead Letter" office, or the mail that gets returned to you as "No Such Address" when you know perfectly well there is such an address!) In any case, the support system is now back up and running, unleashing a flood of complaints and queries that had been dammed up due to the glitch. So my heart goes out to the ABS IT and Web folk -- along with my thanks for a very quick resolution to the problems. I would all web service providers were as helpful and conscientious! — Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG

March 3, 2009

DOMA’s Irrational Basis

So I was listening to NPR this morning and was happy to hear the news that a federal suit is going to be filed in an effort to overturn DOMA —the fantastically misnamed Defense of Marriage Act. Of course, one of the opponents to a judicial overturn, a member of one of the many conservative groups out there — which one I can’t recall, something with “Alliance” in it — noted that in order to prevent the overturn, all that is needed is to show that there is a rational basis for limiting marriage to mixed-sex couples; and, of course, he said that procreation was such a rational basis.

The problem is that if something is the raison d’être (the rationale or basis) for granting a legal status, the condition for the status and all that goes with it — in this case the rights and responsibilities of marriage — should relate to all who seek that status. Even more importantly, such a rational basis for a status requires a higher standard of proof if you are going to exclude people from that status on that basis.

As I have pointed out many times before, procreation can take place apart from marriage and marriage from procreation. People who are incapable of procreation are not excluded from obtaining the legal status of marriage. In fact, in five states of the Union (AZ IL IN UT WI), the law permits marriage to first cousins only on the conditions either of advanced age or infertility or both — procreation is effectively forbidden in the case of these marriages! So it can hardly form a rational basis for them.

More importantly, many if not most of the benefits and responsibilities of marriage have no necessary connection with procreation: Social Security and disability benefits, visitation rights, pensions for surviving spouses, inheritance rights, tax status, and so on. These things all apply whether one has children or not, and whether one is capable of having children or not.

To argue that procreation is a rational basis for marriage that only applies in certain circumstances (and thus, hardly a basis), or that a factor that applies only in some marriages has greater importance than factors more likely to be important to all marriages (and thus, hardly rational) — is baseless and irrational.

The real rational basis for marriage is far simpler, though the state might want to avoid the religious overtones: it is not good for the human to be alone (Genesis 2:18) and two are better than one. (Ecclesiastes 4:9). Seems rational to me...

— Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG

Not So Fast: More on the ABS Saga

Well, yesterday things seemed to be working fine. I was able to create a directory entry for my parish listing it correctly as under the general denomination Anglican and the specific denomination of the Episcopal Church.

Today I received an e-mail from one of the tech people at ForMinistry, who told me that the problems have been fixed. He helpfully provided me with a direct link to my parish directory listing.

Imagine my surprise when I found that according to the listing I was now a part of the Anglican Church in America! I quickly went to the edit screen to make a correction, and found that “Anglican” had been removed from the list of general denominations. I was able to find the Episcopal Church listed in that category, and changed it to reflect that. However, this means that my parish is now listed under the general heading Episcopal Church and the specific heading Episcopal Church. There is no way to have Anglican as a general heading and Episcopal Church as a specific heading. Note that this is a change from yesterday.

I contacted the tech person with this problem and his quick response was,

Unfortunately the church listing on the drop down box are the only ones made available at the moment.

Sorry for any inconvenience that this may have caused you.

I wrote back to him as follows:

Thanks for the quick reply. Can you please let me know when this will be changed? It was working yesterday when I created my directory listing; that is, I was able to choose "Anglican" from the "General Denomination" list, and "Episcopal Church" from the Specific Denomination list. Which is as it should be.

Those choices are no longer available, which means that the list was changed since yesterday when I made my directory listing, to remove "Anglican" from the General Denomination List in the Directory setup — I note it still appears in the Find a Church utility, which is fine.

It appears to me that changes such as this can and have been made. Can you tell me when it will be changed back?

Thanks for your attention to this very important matter.

I will keep you posted on any further developments. Curiouser and curiouser.

UPDATE: 5/5/09 -- All is now well! Happy to report after a phone conversation with the website and services department at ABS that "Anglican" now appears as a Primary Denomination in the directory creation panel. So a parish can now identify itself as "Anglican" "Episcopal Church." The tech officer also told me the reason for delays in responding to other complaints was due to a glitch in the help desk support ticket system. (Those who work IT will know what that means; for those who don't, think of the "Dead Letter" office, or the mail that gets returned to you as "No Such Address" when you know perfectly well there is such an address!) In any case, the support system is now back up and running, unleashing a flood of complaints that had been dammed up due to the glitch. So my heart goes out to the ABS IT and Web folk -- along with my thanks for a very quick resolution to the problems. I would all web service providers were as helpful and conscientious! — Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG

— Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG

Resolution on ABS / ForMinistry

I'm very happy to report that an email note was waiting for me this a.m. from Ms. Black at the American Bible Society. She worked with the ABS IT folks and the Episcopal Church now shows up as a "specific denomination" under the general denomination heading "Anglican" at the ForMinistry "Find a Church" utility. She was most cordial, and I think we can now rejoice that the 3,000-some Episcopal parishes listed in the directory now once again show up if someone chooses "Anglican"!

Thank you, Ms. Black!

—Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG

March 1, 2009

To The American Bible Society

This is a slightly edited copy of a note I just sent to the American Bible Society.

Autumn Black, Director of Public Relations
American Bible Society

Dear Ms. Black,

I was surprised this evening, on visiting the ForMinistry website operated from your Virginia offices, to discover that The Episcopal Church does not appear in the Church Directory.

I note that when one enters "Anglican" as a general denomination (there being no entry for "Episcopal"), a number of other Anglican churches appear as possible choices, but not The Episcopal Church, which is, at this time, the only U.S. church recognized as a member of the Anglican Communion.

I hope this oversight will be corrected. It is shocking to think that The Episcopal Church is not listed in this directory, considering that one of the American Bible Society's founding member and first president -- John Jay -- was an Episcopalian.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. I am sharing a copy of this note with the Bishops and Deputies of The Episcopal Church.

(The Rev.) Tobias Stanislas Haller

UPDATE: In the "credit where due" department, I was tipped off on this matter by John White of Openly Episcopal in Albany. He provides more detail at that blog, and the additional information that the webpage for his parish hosted on ForMinistry had been rendered "inactive." I was not, of course, able to verify this, but was able to visit the ForMinistry "Church Directory" and ascertain that TEC is not listed there, under any conceivable terminology (The Episcopal Church, The Protestant Episcopal Church..., The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society...). The only officially "Anglican" church in the US (not "in North America" as I inadvertently said in my initial note to the ABS... an oopsey for which I apologize to Canada and Mexico; no doubt induced by the overall 'American' tilt of the ABS) is not on the ABS listing. Oh, and I took screen shots of the drop-down menus, in case anyone is interested...


A further UPDATE: Our friends over at Stand Firm have picked up on this story, and note my error in referring to John Jay as the first president of ABS. I mis-remembered on that: he was a founding member in 1816 and later (1821) elected president. Interestingly enough, his involvement with ABS marked his opposition to Bishop Hobart, who wanted to support an explicitly denominational (i.e., Episcopal) Bible Society; Jay felt a Bible society should transcend such denominational concerns. This is where the present act to remove reference to the Episcopal Church seems so out of keeping with the original purposes of the Society.