Ambition and Bishops

The Rev. Frederick W. Schmidt, who holds the Rueben P. Job Chair in Spiritual Formation at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, writes at Patheos about the idea of creating a pool of prospective candidates for the episcopacy. He offers five reasons for opposing the idea, ending with this:

[The] proposal disenfranchises the laity and most of the clergy at one level, by pre-judging who might be considered. Historically, some of the church’s strongest and most notable bishops were not on anyone’s list and often the best of them have been elected to that office against their own instincts or has pulled them into the office from relative obscurity. One can imagine that the appeal of the proposal being considered by the bishops is the notion that this process will eliminate political machination from the selection of bishops. However, what it does, in fact, is simply move those machinations to another playing field or venue, where there is even less opportunity for public scrutiny.

Creating another smoke-filled room or a nursery for ambition in the church is a profound theological and spiritual mistake.

Read the rest.


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