“Confidence… thrives on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection and on unselfish performance. Without them it cannot live.” Franklin D. Roosevelt
“For though we love both the truth and our friends, piety requires us to honor the truth first.” Aristotle
Today I write concerning honor. Honor is a precious commodity in today’s world. It has disappeared from much of public life in the actions of politicians, business leaders and even in various churches and religious organizations which often act in ways no different than people and organizations which make no claims on the Deity and which do not fall back on their relationship with God to justify unjust actions of their own.
Honor is something that I have tried to live my life by, to be honest even when it could be dangerous, to admit my faults even though it might be detrimental and to value the sacredness of friendship, loyalty and perseverance. I have not always succeeded but I do my best and if I am wrong I usually feel the sting of violating my own code and more often than not attempt to make amends or reconcile. As a military officer as well as Priest I have always looked to the words of General Douglas MacArthur in his farewell speech to the Cadets at West Point in my understanding of honor. Macarthur put it well in this immortal paragraph:
“Duty, Honor, Country: Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying points: to build courage when courage seems to fail; to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith; to create hope when hope becomes forlorn.”
As readers of this site as well as my friends know last September I was forced to leave the church that I had served for over 14 years by my Bishop. It was something that I knew that I would have to do at some point but when the time came I was unprepared for it; it was an emotional body blow but at the same time a relief. It was quite perplexing actually. Thankfully I found a new Church home that is in reality a much better fit for me. I wrote about the reasons for my departure without any malice and preferred to leave the matter behind as I exited with honor and dignity without casting dispersions on anyone in the current leadership of the Charismatic Episcopal Church. I expected that my intent and action would be reciprocated and in large part it has been with the exception of one person that I know of and possibly one other.
If I was a better man I might be able to shrug off some of the things that have been written about me since I left. But I guess my skin is not as thick as I thought it was. Since leaving I have had my honor, integrity and motivation for my actions questioned or condemned. I have been called a “heretic” and “Apostate.” I have had those that call me such refer to the Church that has graciously cared for me and brought me in as an “apostate Church.” I have even had my faith disparaged.
Some other things happened in the last two days that I will not go into here except to say that my trust and in a person that despite leaving the CEC I viewed as a friend made comments that disparaged me on another website a month ago that I just saw and did something that could cause problems for my military chaplain friends in my former church. I communicated my thoughts to the appropriate people in my former church and pray that they will be able to handle the situation in such a way that my friends to not get dragged down and hurt by this man’s hubris.
One good thing to come out of this was a comment by a bishop that I contacted via e-mail. This bishop had actually by his kindness shown to me in 2000-2001 and again in 2004 allowed me to give the CEC another chance after I had been silenced, demeaned and abused by several former CEC bishops. That bishop replied to my e-mail with this note which means a lot to me and moved me to tears.
Thanks Fr. Steve,
It was my privilege knowing you during your time with us. You were a courageous man who well represented your country and church. I’m sure you will do well and God will bless you where you are.
Since he wrote this in confidence I will not reveal his name but he is one of the best representatives of the CEC that I know. Thank God for people like him.
I have elected not to include things which would inflame the situation or hurt the CEC national leadership from minimizing the damage from this man’s selfish, deceptive and dishonorable actions and words. While I am no longer in the CEC my heart goes out to my friends in that church.
I do appreciate your prayers because I have had some of my old yet unhealed wounds reopened by this incident and for my friends who are now caught in the middle of a problem created by a man that knows no honor.
Since the subject is painful I hope this will be the last time that it raises its ugly head. Thank you for your prayers and support as always.
7 responses to “A Matter of Honor”
A man of honor is a man of unswerving conscience. You refused to make the easier road for yourself, you stood for your convictions. Some will undoubtedly call that sort of thing foolish or quixotic. Others will find it nothing less than heroic. Neither of these reactions matter much, I would think. You have done that which your heart has found to be right, don’t let anyone steal that conviction from you.
Thank you my friend. I could have piled so much dirt on this gentleman which would have really hurt him but I decided that this was not the forum to do this. I decided to take the high road as doing more and brutally telling the truth and going into details could blow back on my friends and make it look like I was whining and just trying to get even. .
“Honour is that still, small voice you must live with in the dark.” I forget the source, but never forget the quote. As BD said above, you have behaved honourably. You have refused to stoop to the level of those who attack you. You are willing to admit, and more importantly address, the shortcomings you find in yourself. You have continued to serve our country, and your fellow man, both in faith and military service. I would be proud beyond concept if someone told me I had a tenth the honour as you. You have stood strong, despite the vileness hurled at you. I know you will continue to stand strong, and I hope you also know that you will always have the support of myself and your other regulars. And never fear – in terms of honour, you are head and shoulders above those who would question yours. Godspeed, my friend!
I haven’t read everything you’ve written on this blog but I have read enough to feel compassion and respect for you. Based on my experiences in the Church I’ve arrived at the point that I consider being labeled a heretic a compliment that recognizes integrity, bravery and commitment.
Thank you Paul. Blessings on you. Peace, Steve+
I sure wish I knew what to say about the people calling you all those horrible things. I guess that it can be attributed to a cave man’s primal fear of anything that isn’t him. You just happened to not look like that other person so the knee-jerk reaction of fear and ignorance came out.
On the other story, it is too bad that taking the high road isn’t as much fun as it used to be. A little bit of honor and integrity was all that was required….
Thank God for that bishop who wrote those kind words to you. I wholeheartedly agree with what he wrote you and what you wrote about him.
Thank you much as always my friend. Catch you later,