Dee's Blog
Thu 08/21/2008
The Work of the Bishop
Topic: Power

I'm still learning about bishops.  Cause, in my own little limited arena, being a part of the second largest denomination of Christians in the world (ie. Southern Baptists) until I was 40 years old, I'm not sure that I've ever met a bishop personally, though I've heard from several who have written to me about my work. 

Seems, from what I can gather, they are the Super Clergy who have the power to move the ordinary clergy around like a bunch of pawns.  In other words, the big bosses. 

Southern Baptists have a way that's just as strange to those who have bishops.  As strange, but not necessarily any more dysfunctional.  Baptists think of everyone in the church as being a priest.  There are no bishops.  Of course, it can get very messy and uneasy for everyone when a pastor needs to be moved, for whatever reason.  Or fired.  Or "run off," and that's what often happens. 

Mainline Protestants have bishops or the equivalent of one, but some are just as likely to be almost as loosely organized as Southern Baptists.  Generally, though, with some kind of profile system so that there is some way of approving the recommended clergy members that a church will consider as its next pastor, at least.  Though churches can be mavericks in many systems, calling unapproved people.

Bishops, as I understand it, are to be in charge.  Yet, according to Eugene Kennedy, this means a bishop is also someone who:

1. is expected to be a follower

2. has the job of controlling things so that questions get settled quickly

3. is not allowed to ask many questions

4. is obligated to conform

5. is uncomfortable with the mysteries of everyday life

Sounds like a child in the early part of the 20th century to me.  Just 100 years behind!  With the children in charge?  Talk about being stuck!

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 12:01 AM CDT
Updated: Wed 08/20/2008 2:22 PM CDT

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