In recent weeks I’ve discovered I’ve become part of a club. I wish I could say it is very exclusive but it does not seem to be as it is growing and getting close to numerous. It is the Blocked by Greg Club, the club of those blocked by the twitter account of Canon Greg Goebel or by the Facebook page of his Anglican Pastor site. I will say the club seems to be exclusive in one fashion: I only know of traditional Anglicans that have been blocked, not of others. (There may be others; if so, I am not aware of them.)
The pattern often is that Goebel will post something that provokes traditional Anglicans. And should one dare to express their provocation and disagreement in a manner displeasing to the Canon, he/she is blocked.
Now one certainly has the right to act in such a catty manner on a social media account, even a public one. But it is questionable coming from clergy, much less from a Canon in the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). Yes, all are entitled to private online space where one can include and exclude as one wishes more or less. But I do not think that applies to public Twitter and Facebook accounts on which clergy comment on churchly matters and other public issues. Church people should be able to know what their clergy is saying in public or semi-public settings about church and political issues. That is basic accountability.
It is fair to say ACNA handles accountability well more often than not and better than most church jurisdictions. But there are times it does not, and this is one of them. It is not right for a Canon to block people, especially church people, from seeing what he is saying or doing as a minister, except in extreme circumstances or when privacy is appropriate. Church people should be able readily to know what their clergy are teaching and advocating. And if clergy cannot handle critical responses to that better than blocking the responders, perhaps other jobs should be sought.
In this case, the problem of lack of accountability goes right to the top in ACNA. For Greg Goebel is the Canon to the Ordinary in the Diocese of the South, the bishop of which is the Archbishop of ACNA, the Most Rev. Foley Beach.