One of the many things I dearly love about Scripture is the way it makes some issues, such Eucharistic liturgy, or Clerical Vestments, absolutely clear-cut, while leaving us plenty of wriggle-room in the case of others, such as theft.
In fact instead of being just one sin, stealing should really be considered as covering a broad continuum of circumstances, some of which - such as, for example, taking a person’s brand new plasma TV – are unquestionably sinful, while others - like bringing home stationery from the office – should be more appropriately considered as sensible management of one’s personal resources. Especially if your boss is not a Christian.
This is even more applicable if you're leaving one job for another. Instead of the usual few pens and a ream of paper, changing work-places has long been justification enough for taking a dozen printer cartridges and that forgotten lap-top. Calling this sort of self-awarded remuneration “theft” makes as much sense as saying that the parish discretionary account isn’t to be spent on indiscretions: some things are simply given to be taken.
This is why I, like many other Christians on the internet, am so shocked by the actions of the Canadian Diocese of New Westminster, which has commenced steps to reclaim properties taken by clergy who’ve quit their jobs with the Anglican Church of Canada. Granted, taking the Rectory, Church, and all associated parish buildings might have been a bit bolder a swipe than just pinching that scanner which will come in really useful for digitizing those treasured old polaroids, but surely the principle is exactly the same? The fellows were leaving for different pastures and simply grabbed themselves some going away presents in the process. It wasn’t really their fault that these happened to include the odd parish hall, and asking for them back now is just plain bad manners,
After all, it’s not as though Big Pete Akinola would mind if someone took a few buildings with them when leaving one of his parishes, would he? And little Pete Jensen’s generosity towards those wanting to escape from his theological thumbscrews is legendary. Nor can anyone fault the help +Iker and +Duncan would almost certainly offer to anyone feeling entitled to a little real estate when leaving to join the MCC. So how dare those wicked liberal Canadian Bishops act in such an uncharitable way towards a few Bible-believing clergy whom just happen to understand that the eighth commandment is nowhere nearly as binding as commandments one to seven and nine to ten. Which I believe all explicitly prohibit homosexuality. Don’t they?
I’m Father Christian and I teach the Bible.