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WESTERN NEW YORK: Bishop Garrison Just Doesn't Get It



By David W. Virtue

The Bishop of Western New York, J. Michael Garrison just doesn't get it.

He believes that because he is bishop with ultimate power over all he surveys in his diocese, that he can cajole, coerce, whine, plead, bully, fudge the truth and threaten parishes that do not pay his bills.

The diocese faces a major deficit of $200,000 in a budget of $1.1 million because a number of parishes are withholding money owing to the simple fact that he has a belief system different from many in his diocese.

Garrison believes that sex outside of marriage, particularly homoerotic behavior is good and right in the eyes of God and so he voted for V. Gene Robinson’s election, confirmation and consecration.

A lot of his people don’t share his beliefs, and they believe that if they support his non-biblical agenda they might jeopardize their own souls. That price is too high to pay and so they have cut him off at the knees.

In return the bishop is fighting back with a large scale whine about persons being laid off and much more.

The fact that most bureaucracies could be trimmed without much going wrong is beside the point. Those he employs foster his agenda and the orthodox no longer want to maintain that agenda. And they have every right not too.

This is not about two political parties with different views or even a politician crossing the floor to vote with the other party on a particular issue, this is about right and wrong, good and evil.

And Garrison thinks that if his beliefs and those of his diocese and the agenda of the national church happen not to gel with a powerful minority they should simply roll over and go on paying anyway.

But why should they? They, the orthodox minority, have a very clear fix on what truth is, the nature of the gospel and the proclamation of the Good News, so naturally their churches are large and those that do not have a clear fix on what truth is, namely revisionist ones are small, but the orthodox are expected to keep the bishop’s “inclusive” ideas afloat and the bishop expects them to pay the lions share.

Only people in concentration camps support what they cannot change. If they beg off, a man in a uniform carrying a large pistol points it at the man’s head and seconds later he is lying on the ground never to get up again.

And in a sense that is what Garrison is doing to the vocal and ‘no longer will we be rolled over’ minority.

They are saying he has a different gospel, which is true. He does. And the orthodox are mindful of the Apostle Paul’s words, “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach another gospel let him be declared anathema (eternally condemned NIV) Gal. 1:8.

So why should the orthodox minority of clerics pay into a system that has been anathematized by Holy Scripture, and furthermore jeopardize their own souls and those of their parishioners by maintaining it?

Logic, sanity, Scripture (and there are more reasons) demand that they don’t and they have said they will no longer do so.

As a result Bishop Garrison is hopping mad. He cited a combination of economic difficulties within many parishes and a "significant amount of protest" over the approval of a gay bishop.

He’s got that about half right.

You see it is not just about sex and who does what to whom, the problem is far deeper than that. It is fundamentally about idolatry, it is about having ‘no other gods before me’, and Garrison and his pansexual pals have made an idol out of sexually perverse lifestyles and they have made a god out of pansexual behavior. And because he says that’s all right by him, he expects everyone to fall in line.

Well they shouldn’t and they won’t, because if they do they will be answerable to God “on that day”, and despite all the things you hear about a ‘nice’ and loving God, there is also another side to His nature and it is about judgment. And that judgment will begin first with the household of faith.

And so the orthodox minority has made up its collective mind that they would rather obey God than man, (Acts 5:29), and that includes a bishop, and they are begging off.

"We didn't believe that the national church was headed in the right direction," said James Glownia, senior warden of St. Bartholomew’s church. "It was the only thing we could really do to protest against it, so to speak."

And she is right. She knows, as do most of us who write about these matters, that money or the lack of it is what brings the house of cards down. A bishop can deny the faith, say he is a universalist, or even that Jesus is a sinner (Charles E. Bennison)…and get away with it. But if his stewardship skills show up as lacking you can be sure that the bean counters will tell the Standing Committee and the bishop will be ushered in for a little talk…but it won’t be with Jesus.

Just ask Richard Schimpfky late of the Diocese of the El Camino Real. He managed to drop a clanger on his diocese over many years, reducing it from a healthy 30,000 to 12,000 communicants and nothing happened. But when they discovered that there was very little money left in the till he got the heave ho.

And there you have it. Money talks, theology walks.

So here’s the strategy. If a diocese has little or no endowment, one of the fastest ways to run a revisionist bishop out of his diocese is to start legal proceedings against him/her by pulling out or threatening to pull out of the diocese and when the diocesan money runs out to high-priced lawyers, the Standing Committee will give him the heave ho.

Now there’s a strategy that even the framers of the Council of Jerusalem’s letter to the Gentile believers would admire….”it seemed good to us and the Holy Spirit.”


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