Wednesday, February 11, 2015

NBC And TEC Are Treating Symptoms

Fr. Dale Matson

“Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.” (Revelation 2:4-5, NKJV)

In her restriction (inhibition) of bishop Heather Cook, The Episcopal Church (TEC) Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori stated, “This restriction is being placed upon your ordained ministry because information has been received by the Intake Officer that indicates that you may have committed one or more offenses under Canon IV.4 as a result of your alleged criminal conduct in connection with an automobile accident on December 27, 2014 and misrepresentations you allegedly made to persons in the Diocese of Easton and in connection to your candidacy for the episcopate in the Diocese of Maryland regarding your experience with alcohol.”

Deborah Turness, President of NBC news had this to say; “We have decided today to suspend Brian Williams as Managing Editor and Anchor of NBC Nightly News for six months. The suspension will be without pay and is effective immediately. We let Brian know of our decision earlier today. Lester Holt will continue to substitute Anchor the NBC Nightly News.

Our review, which is being led by Richard Esposito working closely with NBC Universal General Counsel Kim Harris, is ongoing, but I think it is important to take you through our thought process in coming to this decision.

While on Nightly News on Friday, January 30, 2015, Brian misrepresented events, which occurred while he was covering the Iraq War in 2003. It then became clear that on other occasions Brian had done the same while telling that story in other venues. This was wrong and completely inappropriate for someone in Brian’s position.”

I am concerned that both organizations have failed to discern that the real problem lies within the cultures of their respective organizations. The parallels are remarkable and unfortunate. Both organizations have allowed corporate agendas to supersede their prime directives. The things they have done in recent years are counterproductive and have served to undermine their brand [TEC is currently in the process of rebranding (‘reimaging’)]. Lord have mercy.

Whether NBC admits it or not, they have lost their first love, impartiality and the search for truth. With this, they have lost credibility as a first class news organization. This loss of market share is the collateral damage of lying to the viewers. They have presented the truth, as they want it to be perceived by the viewers. They manipulated the information in events like the Zimmerman 911 call and the NBC Dateline report on defective gasoline tanks in trucks.

How fitting it is that the face of NBC news is a liar also. But the problem does not end there. NBC cultivated the image of Brian Williams and helped him pad his Curriculum Vitae with falsehoods. They knew he had a problem with overwhelming the truth but ranking overruled reason. Agendas superseded truth. Brian Williams was not just the face of NBC news he was the managing editor. A chronic liar determined what we would view on the news every day. His suspension is not as much a punishment for Williams as a period for NBC to determine which way the wind is blowing. Will the ratings go up or down? He is a sacrificial lamb that will not cover the sins of an organization that needs to reflect on its culture. He was just the messenger, a symptom. They have lost their first love. That is the disease.

Bishop Heather Cook is another symptom identified by an organization as the disease when the permissive culture from which she arose is the real issue. This is the new and improved TEC that welcomes all, is ‘all-inclusive’. It is also the new TEC that has spent 10’s of millions of dollars to ‘preserve is legacy’ suing former dioceses, parishes and even vestry members. In fact, TEC is dipping into the legacy (endowment) for the funds needed to sue its departing folks that see the new TEC as apostate. Some congregations that remained have diminished or neglected funding the national church.

Once again, an inclusive agenda to attract and embrace the marginalized and disenfranchised has led to an organization that has forgotten its first love and removed bishops who reminded her of that fact. A “conciliation” process initiated by Katharine Jefferts Schori recently muzzled the orthodox bishops who remain. This was her shot across the bow suggesting that they could be deposed also.

One bishop that was ‘conciliated’ Dan Martins had this to say about the reimaging document of TEC. 

“A few statements and assumptions strewn throughout the document simply cannot be allowed to slide without comment. Like this one:
‘The Episcopal Church’s identity is rooted in Jesus and his Way.’
Generously construed, this is an aspirational statement. Would that it was an accurate description, but it is not. Of course, our constitutional liturgical formularies are thoroughly christocentric; that cannot be denied. But our prevailing ethos and culture, not so much. If anything, we are, collectively, largely christophobic. We're OK talking about "God," but substitute "Christ" or "Jesus" and we begin to get squirmy. Words like "discipleship" have acquired a certain cachet of late, but they still raise a few interior eyebrows. This needs to change. We need to learn to love Jesus and be able to say so.” Amen to that Bishop Dan!
TEC has lost its first love.

            Both NBC and TEC have identified symptoms as problems, and both have lost their first love. The culture in both organizations has enabled and rewarded those that in an ironic sense are an incarnational product of that culture. Amputation will not solve the problem. The disease is systemic. Offering a sacrificial lamb will not cover this sin. The Lenten season is nigh upon us all.      

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