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Hoosier Musings on the Road to Emmaus

Sunday, July 17, 2005

A time to keep silence, and a time to speak

You know, the first comment on a previous post has got me thinking about the issue of silence. When to speak, and when to keep still, is a daily decision we all face. Often (every time I post to this blog, as just one example!) I am given occasion to consider my words carefully: not only deciding what to say, but first whether I should say anything at all. And sometimes silence seems the better choice.

"Like when?" you might respond. Glad you asked. Some of my frequent reasons include:

  • Natural inclination. I am, by nature, something of an introvert. I can be quite gregarious at times; just ask my family as they wait patiently to leave coffee hour! But that is a learned behavior, part of social interaction and the way I get along with others. If I have something important on my mind, I am far more likely to keep it to myself, or to discuss it with those few precious souls with whom I have built a trusting, emotionally intimate relationship.
  • Discretion. There are situations or confidences which I am aware are, quite frankly, not my place to share; to do so would breach trust that I hold sacred. This was true long before I approached the ordained ministry, and is doubly so now.
  • Ignorance/lack of data. I will be the first to admit that I don't know everything; no, nor even something about lots of things. If I am unaware of a situation, or if I do not feel as though I have enough information to have an informed opinion, I will generally try to err on the side of caution and keep my mouth shut. "Better to be silent and be thought a fool," the old advice goes, " than to speak and remove all doubt." I do not always succeed at this goal, but I do try.
The latter is the reason for my silence in the issue referenced in the previously mentioned comment. I had very little knowledge of the adventures in Connecticut before I saw the article in the ENS feed above the news about Leigh; and I have neither connection with nor information about any of the players in the conflict, other than the faith tradition we share.

I do have something to say about the comment itself, though. Not on my own behalf; So far as I'm concerned, it shows only that the anonymous poster knows precisely nothing about me. It is therefore not worthy of further consideration.

But I would suggest, Mr./Ms. Anonymous, that if you have a problem with my bishop, under whose pastoral authority I am wholly content to serve, then you take it up with him. You can contact him here. If you do so, you will find him honorable, straightforward, respectful and responsive-- quite different from the sort of person inclined to post sarcastic venom and hide behind anonymity.


Anonymous Shari DeSilva said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

July 17, 2005 9:50 PM  

Blogger the reverend mommy said...

Wow. I'm totaly ignorant of the issues here, and of an entirely different denomination, but I recoginze anger -- or is that a understatement? Sounds to me there are politics involved (as there are in any denominational structure) and Jane was being happy about an appointment of a classmate -- not trying to hack away at dragons.

What ever happened to speaking truth in love? Or is that just a Methodist thing?

July 17, 2005 9:57 PM  

Anonymous shari said...

"What ever happened to speaking truth in love?"

I spoke truth in love once. Both to Little (3 times) and to the individual in question at least 9 times.

July 17, 2005 10:16 PM  

Blogger Susan Rose, CSJP said...

I'm also pretty much totally ignorant of the issues involved.

But a little bird told me about your blog Jane, and so I thought I'd come by to visit, say hi and give my support. Plan to come back and read some more soon.

Blogging can be risky business. You never know when you'll hit a nerve. Hang in there.

July 18, 2005 12:54 AM  

Blogger jo(e) said...

Shari: You could well be contributing all kinds of information and interesting perspectives to a conversation .... but when you make sweeping insulting statements like "you liberals make me sick" or "he is a coward" .... well, unfortunately, you lose your credibility and no one is likely to listen to you.

If you have something you want to say (rather than simply venting anger), and you want people to actually listen to you, you might want to rethink your strategy.

July 18, 2005 5:58 AM  

Blogger Mark said...

Again, I say: Get a BLOG people. Instead of hiding your opinions in someone else's comments, open a blog, post your opinions boldly, then encourage people to comment there.

Not only does this whole chain of events strike me as rude and inappropriate (Jane was not looking to be involved in this discussion, much less end up with comments attacking her bishop), but also somewhat silly. If you want to have your voices heard you don't post them in comments. You post them on YOUR blog for all to see.

Most of you, beyond that first anonymous poster, have identified yourselves, so the issue is not cowardice or fear of having your opinions associated with your name. So there's no reason why you can't go out and put this stuff in your own name on your own site, rather than abusing Jane's comment section.

That's not an attack, so please don't read it that way. I applaud your posting your opinions. But please, use common sense and post them on your space, not someone else's.

July 18, 2005 6:08 AM  

Blogger Songbird said...

Shari has her own blog. I've just been there and read a couple of recent entries, as well as her faith journey. I'm puzzled, Shari, as to why this feels like the right venue for you, as a former Episcopalian and current Roman Catholic, to critique an Episcopal bishop? I can't think of a single place in which the Gospels encourage us to triangulate as you invite Janellen to do.
Your faith autobiography says you have moved on to what you say feels like the right place to be; I would encourage you to let go and let God take care of the rest, as you suggest God must do with regard to the salvation of your Buddhist relatives.

July 18, 2005 6:23 AM  

Anonymous shari said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

July 18, 2005 7:42 AM  

Blogger Friday Mom said...

Wow, Shari. You sound really angry to me. I'm really curious what's behind such strong feeling. I think blogging about it is a good plan. I don't doubt prayer first is also good, but you seem to be implying that wasn't done before you commented here. Our words matter wherever they're spoken/written. It would do us all some good, as Janellen has suggested, to keep that in mind when participating in the conversations we find around the blogosphere.

Janellen, I'm delighted for the opportunity given to your classmate and think it's wonderful that you took the time to celebrate that with her here.

I'm new here. Rev Mommy pointed me to your place. I'm glad to find it. I'll be reading more.

July 18, 2005 7:59 AM  

Blogger reverendmother said...

Do Not Feed the Energy Creature.

July 18, 2005 10:12 AM  

Anonymous revmom/cheesehead said...

Let me chime in to echo Friday Mom's words. Please, everyone, before spouting venom on someone else's blog, take a looong prayerful discernment moment and breathe in the Spirit.

From my perspective, your words, Shari are so caustic that I'm not able to understand what may well be your intended message.

And, I've been reading this blog for awhile now. I think you have missed the point of what goes on here, Shari.

July 18, 2005 10:17 AM  

Anonymous shari said...

I've been reading this blog for two years. I know that Jane would never have overlooked a similar news article on a priest who actually "mattered" to talk about her friend.

If indeed Jane only posted comments about her friends and family I wouldn't be angry. (Neither would I read her).

Again, it is the very lightness of liberals that infuriates me.

July 18, 2005 10:26 AM  

Blogger Jane Ellen+ said...

Shari: I don't want to stir up another hornet's nest; but let me repeat...

I had not commented on that article because it was in linking to the note about Leigh's ordination that I saw it for the first time. I have no intention of being pushed into "picking sides," nor would I venture an opinion, without trying to be better informed than reading those few paragraphs could make me.

That said, I find as I continue to learn about the situation that I am dismayed by the behavior on both sides of the issue. A former dorm-neighbor at Seabury puts it a bit more harshly than I would, but he has a point:

"As Paul said, "when I was a child, I acted like a child, I reasoned like a child...but when I became a man, I put away childish things." Christ said to be childlike, not childish. Sarcasm aside, if you want my advice, GROW UP. That goes for everybody. If you don't like Bishops, become Presbyterian. If you don't like conservatives, reread your mantra about inclusion. I see no manifestation of Christ's love in any of this by anyone involved."

And that is the end of my public comment on the issue.

July 18, 2005 10:46 AM  

Anonymous shari said...

Regarding "Songbird's" comment "I'm puzzled, Shari, as to why this feels like the right venue for you, as a former Episcopalian and current Roman Catholic, to critique an Episcopal bishop? I can't think of a single place in which the Gospels encourage us to triangulate as you invite Janellen to do."

Let us unpack this a little. I take it we are to only critique those in our own midst, and not those from whom we have separated. Why then all the rants about "fundamentalism" from the lot of you? Aint no fundamentalists in TEC, they were run out a long time ago. If a former baptist becomes Episcopalian, shouldn't they remain silent about the likes of Jerry Falwell etc.? Shouldn't they "move on"?

A Jew leaves Germany before Kristalnatcht. Should he have remained silent in England, or Switzerland or wherever?

Actually I note a lot of anger about the recent bombing in London. Oddly enough it is from some of the same people who are silent about the continuous suicide bombings in Israel.

What is the gospel imperative for the silence you liberals advocate (at least for those who oppose your positions?). I don't notice a lot of silence when it comes to preaching on those matters that you do think are important.

Why is this "triangulation"? (Love the 5 dollar words).

July 18, 2005 1:29 PM  

Anonymous shari said...

Regarding the comment "If you don't like Bishops, become Presbyterian"

Some of us believe that the Church catholic (small c) is more than a cereal to be picked and discarded when the flavor tires. Some of us believe it is not a matter of "liking bishops" (actually I consider Little very affable, most bishops are, it is a requirement of the job). It is a matter of respecting bishops and expecting bishops to act in a godly fashion, and to be rebuked by their peers when they act like petty despots as has Smith.

Some of us take this church stuff seriously, and we can't just switch to being Presbyterian every time we think out diocese has a loser of a bishop.

Your mileage may vary.

July 18, 2005 1:41 PM  

Blogger Kathryn said...

Oh my goodness....Who ever would have dreamed that an innocent blog post drawing our attention to a new incumbent would generate such a storm! Every now and then, as we look at all the internal dramas of the C of E, I wonder what a visitor from another planet would make of it all. Now, knowing nothing of the church politics that have obviously motivated this outpouring of comment, I find myself in the extra- terrestrial visitor's shoes...and it is just as sad as I thought it might be. I guess it's too much to hope that we might be able to rejoice with those who rejoice, as well as weeping with those who weep.
Your friend has my prayers for her new ministry...and I'm sorry you've had to field all this trauma on your blog.

July 19, 2005 4:57 AM  

Anonymous Leon Blalock said...

I''m not familiar with this subject but interesed.

December 08, 2005 12:19 PM  

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