This week in Budget and Dysfunction news

So the Presiding Bishop released her own version of a budget for the 2012-2015 Triennium. The story (with link to the budget) is here. It’s received praise from Scott Gunn, Crusty Old Dean, and Susan B. Snook.

From the comments on their blog posts, and the comment threads on the Episcopal Cafe (read them here), it seems there remains deep levels of distrust toward the Presiding Bishop and the Chief Operating Officer. We’ve seen this distrust again and again in the last months, perhaps beginning with Bishop Sauls’ restructuring proposals last fall. As an outsider and observer, I’ve had a hard time understanding where it came from and what fuels it. There seem to be several sources: anticlericalism, knee-jerk resistance to episcopal authority, tension between the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies, personal animosity between several of the major players, tension between staff at the Episcopal Church Center and General Convention. No doubt I’m missing some of the dynamics involved.

As an outsider, I must say that it seems all a bit petty, a waste of time and energy. Above all, it is a distraction from the very real problems that face the Church.

And then I read this from Susan Russell: She provides context, going back to General Convention 2006. I wanted to cry, scream, and bang my head against the wall. With everything confronting the church, let’s reopen old wounds, fight old battles, rehearse old resentments.

God help us all!

Books, book graveyards, and top ten lists

I just read a blog post that I’d left unread for some time in google reader about a novelist’s ruminations after visiting a used bookstore: “The Beautiful Afterlife of Dead Books:”

Cue: Stephen Fowler, owner of The Monkey’s Paw. It was while chatting with Fowler in his beautiful shop that I had an epiphany. At any given time, his bookshop is packed with over 6,000 dead titles on everything ranging from terrestrial slugs to false hair. Rows of books rest in peaceful repose on tables: gorgeous idiosyncratic corpses that would excite any literary necrophile.

Then I came on Susan Russell’s blog entry Books, Books, and More Books. She begins by mentioning an encounter in a newcomer’s class with someone who had just encountered Urban T. (Terry) Holmes’ What is Anglicanism. She goes on to list her top ten list. Coincidentally, on Sunday, I was looking through my bookshelves for a copy of that very book, to share with two young people who have recently come to the Episcopal Church. My search was fruitless. I remembered then that I had lent a copy several years ago, at a former parish, and probably hadn’t got it back. I’ve got no qualms with her list of ten favorites. Mine would, of course, be much more heavily weighted to the theological and literary classics. No doubt Dante would make my list, even if an NGO wants it banned.

One of the books on her list is by Anne Lamott, who has a new book coming out soon: Some Assembly Required. An excerpt is available at Salon.

And speaking of lists, a Catholic church historian’s take on the ten top books in Church History.