The Rev. Frederick Schmidt of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary reflects on the office of Presiding Bishop, comparing it to the ministry of Jesus:
We’ll be getting the names of the people nominated for Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church in a few hours and people have already named the demands of the task.
But I have a sinking feeling that — just as with the election of other national leaders — some of us will fall into the trap of thinking that this election will change everything. There will be conversations about the particular camps into which the candidates fall; their capacity for leadership; and the likely shape of their time in office.
But, truth be told, given both the structure of the church and ineffable but critical distinction between leaders and managers, the chances of this or any election making that night and day difference is negligible to non-existent. People who can operate the machinery may get an institution from day one to day three in a responsible fashion. But moving people from one place to another in their vision for the future is an entirely different enterprise.
So, when we think about PBs, it’s worth thinking about J, because — unlike Presiding Bishops — Jesus did take people from one view of the future to another. Setting aside the Incarnation for a moment (which is the real game changer and a bar too high for the candidates), I’d note the following:
One, Jesus did not need to hold a particular office to make a difference.