Friday, April 07, 2006

Special Commission Report Released

Well, that was quick! Here's the link to "One Baptism, One Hope in God's Call to Us" -- the Report from the Special Commission on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.

Read it and then "let's talk!"

29 comments:

Hiram said...

"Page not found" !!??

jg6544 said...

The link doesn't work.

revsusan said...

it's working now ... seems to have been down for a bit (maybe lots of people are interested in this???)

Hiram said...

It works now -- and reveals an excellently crafted batch of fudge. I did not read the whole thing, but I did read the executive summary, the covenant, and most of the suggested resolutions. I saw some fine, lawyerly language; again there was distress that the "bonds of affection" were breached, but an assertion that the act which broke those bonds is still a good thing, even if misunderstood by those in different "contexts."

This document is more evidence that reappraisers do not understand or accept the presuppositional framework out of which reasserters operate.

jg6544 said...

Why does everything published by the Church come out sounding as though it's being read aloud by someone who has forgotten and left his (or her) teeth at home?

They do the "Episcopal" thing and try to come down firmly on every conceivable side of the issue. Which brings me to one of my favorite quotes - "There's nothing in the middle of the road but yellow stripes and dead armadillos." --Jim Hightower

Jeff Martinhauk said...

I loved it. It is exactly what we need (except the moratorium on same-sex blessings). I could do without the hiatus on gay bishops too, but all in all I love the spirit, the intent (OK - I'll have to agree with jg6544 on the language - it is not exactly an exciting read). I do love that we are in a church that "gets it" though, that understands that community is what it is about, that reaffirms our humanity as GLBT people and is willing to introduce legislation specifically to say so, that calls over and over again for the ENTIRE CHURCH globally to read and study a document prepared by gay folks on how gay people really can and do provide effective leadership in the church ("To Set Our Hope on Christ"). I was starting to get a little discouraged that the document said nothing about our plight as GLBT people within the church and almost seemed willing to sacrifice us for the sake of communal ties. But when I read the resolutions calling for us to be fully accepted and repenting of the church's exclusion of GLBT people I got over it. I think they fully understand where we need to go but also understand that it will take time to get there - Rome wasn't built in a day and to take the church - the WHOLE CHURCH with us we have to move slowly and carefully too. Move too fast and we risk becoming just as exclusionary as "they" are.

This is far from the "U-Turn" predicted by the schismatics. With a few tweaks at GC06, this will be an outright affirmation to us.

jg6544 said...

Haven't the conservatives already shown time and again how seriously they're prepared to take the admonition to read and study?

Anonymous said...

will never pass the vote...we will never have a gay bishop again. nothing on ssm.

Jon said...

I'm in the process of reading it now, but one thing I will note is that exciting law tends to wind up being law. I figure the same can probably be said of a church council's resolutions.

Jon

Jon said...

Oops forgot a word. That should read exciting law = bad law.

Jon

Jeff Martinhauk said...

Jon, I still didn't understand your comment.

jg, just curious- what would the report have needed to say to make you happy?

jg6544 said...

Jeff, had it reaffirmed our right as a province in the Anglican Communion to abide by God's word as we discern it and had it neither apologized for nor retreated from decisions taken by previous conventions and had it not even suggested that a diocese in this Church should refrain from calling an individual to be its Bishop because another diocese somewhere else might not agree with the choice, then I would have been happy.

As things stand, it looks to me like three strikes against this report.

Hiram said...

jg6544 -- the Report depresses me -- so take heart for yourself. It may not be all you want, but it is hardly a turning away from your goals.

Jon said...

You commented that it's not an exciting read. If it were an exciting read, however, I'd veiw that as a reason to be wary of approving it. If a thing is exciting it is most likely doing or saying something more than or other than what "most everyone" knows to be the smart and sensible thing to do, which makes it hard to get support for the stand and what support one does get may evaporate in a couple years.

Jon

Jeff Martinhauk said...

I agree, Jon, and that's kind of what I meant by being careful of moving too fast. I mean, for myself what I hope for is the full inclusion of GLBT persons in the church, not the breaking off of part of the church so that we can have our own little church where we can be accepted, albeit by nobody but ourselves. If the report recommended everything that we wanted we would be deemed "out of communion" with the rest of the church, booted out, and then lots of the rest of the ECUSA might go too. I think it is a step in the right direction and the language is probably worded carefully to move us toward the direction of inclusion, but slowly, so that we do move there as a church in whole and not just as a "splinter faction."

jg6544 said...

Oh sure! Why want a whole loaf when you can get half of one?

jg6544 said...

I note, Hiram, that you and I are the only two who are dissatisfied with the whole thing. This is what comes of trying to please everyone; the only people you end of pleasing are the ones who would have accepted anything to begin with!

Jeff Martinhauk said...

I wouldn't say that I would have accepted anything, jg. And, like I said, I'm disappointed that they haven't recommended to keep the status quo on same-sex unions, provided a different solution for eligibility into the episcopate, and present our suffering and exclusion as more than a footnote in already-passed legislation so that it seems to imply that they would trade our inclusion for the sake of the church's communion. Having said that, if I had been in their position I don't know what I would have done differently. They had to find a balance because there was no good way to keep the unity of the church intact, which was their charter. Their charter was NOT to work to ensure inclusion of all the baptized. Their charter was to "assist...in maintaining the highest degree of communion possible." It appears to be only half of the picture. Given that charter, that half of the picture, I am extremely satisfied. Because when we get to Columbus and can talk not only about communion, but also more fully about inclusion of all the baptized, I believe this report gives us plenty of room to demonstrate why and how we deserve to be at the table with the rest of the baptized. Why and how we must both find communion with the rest of the provinces and find inclusion for all the baptized. Why we cannot compromise on the Gospel imperative to serve all of God's children, nor can we compromise on God's mandate for us to live in community with each other. We must do both. It is not a clear path, but it is one we must find.

jg6544 said...

Jeff, had you been on the Commission, I hope you would have displayed something its members did not - some spine.

What is it going to take to teach us that this is not all tea and cucumber sandwiches in the rectory garden, but a bitter fight that is part of a much larger war the Right is waging against fifty years of social progress in this country and centuries of human learning? You give them an inch; they'll take a mile and lambaste you for not giving them two.

Henry said...

"A bitter fight that is part of a much larger war the Right is waging against fifty years of social progress in this country and centuries of human learning?" This is the worst form of knee-jerk smear against an imaginary enemy. There is no unitary "Right," just as there is no unitary "Left." No orthodox Christians are calling for the re-introduction of segregated public schools, the re-introduction of literacy or property-ownership as a qualification for voting, or the re-introduction of gender and racial discrimination in higher education and in the workplace.
What seems to be happening in ECUSA is that wise persons in influential leadership positions have realized that something more historically important is at stake for the Anglican Communion, not to mention Christianity throughout the world, than the self-absorbed lives of a few self-indulgent North Americans.

Beyond Reconciliation said...

I agree with jg6544's assessment above of what SHOULD HAVE BEEN in the report...with this addition as well: that the church will go forward with developing rites for ssu's. I am embarrassed to be in a church that cannot loudly and proudly proclaim it has done the right thing and will continue to do so. This report is a spineless, backpeddling document.

jg6544 said...

No, Henry, I'll give the Right, most of it at least, credit for not being stupid (and it's a pity they aren't; I hate having clever enemies), they're not calling for the reinstitution of racial segregation. Of course, part of the reason for that is that the public education system in this country has evolved into private schools for the people who can afford them and public schools for the people who can't. You ought to be familiar enough with the correlation between skin color and economic status in this country to sort out what that means. Oh yeah, in spite of their bitter, intractable opposition for a hundred years, Black people finally did get the right to vote in this country and sure enough, they went out and started voting. Not only is the Right smart, they can count, too.

But here's what I see them doing:

Women in the priesthood - they never did make their peace with that development and if I were a female in seminary preparing for the priesthood right now, I wouldn't sleep soundly every night. And, as a commentary on the Oasis website observed, were the Diocese of California to call a woman to be its next Bishop, that would be almost as troubling to much of the Communion as calling a gay person would be; I suppose calling a lesbian would be a "two-fer". If they get us, women in the priesthood are next.

The "new" prayerbook - I find it odd that something that is now, what, over a quarter-century old would still be called "new", but then I'm not a cradle Episcopalian. But folks on the Right in this country just seem to be welded to the notion that God (in God's three forms) spoke and still speaks early seventeenth century English. The one time I attended an ACC meeting, dissatisfaction at the "new" prayerbook came third on the list of "horrors" the ACC was going to do something about - right behind queers in the church and women in the pulpit!

Church polity - the Right in the Episcopal Church and parts of the Communion seem to be bent on recreating our polity as something resembling an unholy union of Rome and southern American protestant fundamentalism. They are neither comfortable with the "via media" nor with the notion that different Anglicans may discern Biblical truths differently. Left to their own devices, I suppose it would only be a question of time before we all wore the same shirts - probably brown ones. On the other hand, if, say, the Diocese of Ft. Worth wants to call another cretin once the current one is gone or if the Church in parts of Africa has only the most tentative comprehension of "modern" notions such as the age of consent for girls, that's their business as far as I'm concerned. I like the polity we've got, even though I don't like the results it produces in some places.

The three-legged stool - forget it; in fact, bury experience and reason completely. Of course, there will still be some interpretation of Scripture; divorce (expressly forbidden) will be permitted because some of them are divorced and in England, the next supreme head of the church is a divorced man who married his former mistress (also divorced) with whom he committed adultery for the entire term of his first marriage as far as we can tell. Homosexuality (never even mentioned in Scripture) is absolute anathema, though, and your "do not pass 'GO'" card straight to hell.

Now, this is an American concern, but in this country, they want to overlook the fact that neither the First Continental Congress nor the Constitutional Convention bore the vaguest resemblance to a gathering of Southern Baptists other than the fact that both were composed entirely of white men. We were not, they would have us believe, formed as a secular nation, grounded in the notion that we govern ourselves; God does not send us men to govern us. This is a "Christian nation", don't you know and that business about God never even being mentioned in the Constitution, well, they just must-a forgot. Prayer in schools? You bet! And none of that funny Jewish stuff, either, always in the name of Jesus Christ ahr Lard!

So yeah, Henry, these people scare the hell out of me and you'd better believe, we should never give them so much as the time of day. They ought to scare the hell out of you, too, unless, of course, you'd be happy living in a "Christian" version of Iran.

Frair John said...

Henry-

I am not "self-indulgent."
I am a child of God, attempting to live out my life - as created by God - with integrity.
This report treats me like an embarrassment at best and an unwelcome problem at the worst.

Hiram-

I understand the “prepositional framework out of which reasserters operate.” What you fail to grasp is that we have a “prepositional framework,” it is rooted in the same place.

The cry’s on the Right of “secular humanism” are unworthy, and show just how far removed they are from understanding where the other side is coming from.

Anonymous said...

jg6544, as a reasserter, I do not consider you my enemy simply because you are apparently gay (leave aside the question of sexual orientation as identity)nor am I (speaking for myself)trying to make myself your enemy. From any traditional Biblical persepective, gay sex is not the ultimate sin, nor the unforgivable sin, nor a bigger sin than any other sin. Jesus' blood shed on the cross is sufficient to wash away all my sins, all your sins, and all the sins of any who come to Him for salvation.

Having said that, consider a different perspective on some things you said in your latest reply. "Women in the priesthood - they never did make their peace with that development" Actually, reasserters are all over the map on that one. I could make a Scriptural case for WO from both the OT and NT, even including Paul's epistles, and I do in fact favor WO and think it is in the will of God.

"But folks on the Right in this country just seem to be welded to the notion that God (in God's three forms) spoke and still speaks early seventeenth century English. The one time I attended an ACC meeting, dissatisfaction at the "new" prayerbook came third on the list of "horrors" the ACC was going to do something about - right behind queers in the church and women in the pulpit!" The problems reasserters have with the 1979 Prayer Book have little to do with style (except where meaning is lost by a substitution of a word with a different meaning than the archaic original). Rather they object to the weakening of Trinitarian doctrine, to the omission (in places) of the necessity of confession of our sin and the need for salvation and sanctification and the omission of original sin, that is, our own fallen natural tendency to prefer our own self-will to God our Maker's will for us.

"They are neither comfortable with the "via media" nor with the notion that different Anglicans may discern Biblical truths differently." St. Peter wrote that "Scripture is of no private interpretation". St. Augustine said "In essentials unity, in non-essentials freedom, and in all things charity". Even taking Jesus' words in the Gospels as superceding the Mosaic Law (which He in fact did), the Gospel is not primarily one of inclusion (but it is true-"if any man comes to Me I will in no wise turn him away") but one of His one sufficient sacrifice for our sins to reconcile us with the Father. If you read all of all four Gospels you will get a true picture of why Jesus really came. I made a project 2 summers ago of finding all the places in the Gospels where Jesus is recorded saying the reasons that He came to us, and it is sobering, humbling, challenging and exhilirating reading. I can e-mail you the list of passages if you like. But don't narrow down Jesus' teaching to the 2 greatest commandments. He never abolished the other 8!

"On the other hand, if, say, the Diocese of Ft. Worth wants to call another cretin once the current one is gone" Now, now, name-calling, ad homineum attacks on those we disagree with? Or is it hate speech? Do you "hate" Bishop Iker or just disagree strongly with him?

"or if the Church in parts of Africa has only the most tentative comprehension of "modern" notions such as the age of consent for girls, that's their business as far as I'm concerned." Is the age of consent Church policy in Africa, or are these marriages taking place in church? I'm against child brides as much as you seem to be, for a number of reasons. If underage marriages take place in Africa for cultural reasons, it's just one more demonstration of sin in fallen man, just as it would be here.

"The three-legged stool - forget it; in fact, bury experience and reason completely." Hooker never in fact mentioned the "three-legged stool" and certainly gave Scripture the dominant role with reason and experience playing subordinate supporting roles.

"divorce (expressly forbidden) will be permitted because some of them are divorced" That is one of the sins of ECUSA of which we reasserters must also repent. Only 2 grounds for divorce are given in the Bible, adultery and abandonment. A fair case could be made for abuse being an instance of abandonment (I could give you Scripture on that point, too). Jesus told the Pharisees that Moses permitted divorce because of the hardness of men's hearts, but it was not in the Father's will or His original design for marriage. When the canons on divorce were loosened in ECUSA it surely grieved the Holy Spirit.

"We were not, they would have us believe, formed as a secular nation, " "that business about God never even being mentioned in the Constitution" (refer to the Declaration of Independence-"all men being created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights") "Prayer in schools? You bet! And none of that funny Jewish stuff, either, always in the name of Jesus Christ ahr Lard!" Prayer in schools was quite common from the beginning of public schools, certainly in early schools. Look at the McGuffey Reader, one of the earliest US textbooks, which uses Bible quotes extensively to teach reading. Look at the charters of the 13 original states and you will see that the spread of Christianity is a prominent stated goal, see David Barton's research. The Constitutional Congress opened with a Christian church service in Independence Hall, along with much explicitly Christian prayer by the delegates. And yes, some of us do talk funny, but we won't take it personally if you poke a little fun at us for it. :)

"So yeah, Henry, these people scare the hell out of me and you'd better believe, we should never give them so much as the time of day. They ought to scare the hell out of you, too, unless, of course, you'd be happy living in a "Christian" version of Iran." I truly regret that you seem to have been treated unkindly by some who identify themselves as reasserters. I think same-sex orientation or activity is never grounds for harrassment, intimidation, discrimination, or violence in the public sector or any other. But being a priest or bishop who denies essential Christian doctrine agreed on since the Apostles until recently is not a right. No one who truly understands the Gospel of the Bible wants to bar gays at the church door. All repentant sinners (thankfully, including myself) are welcome! Grace and peace to you in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour and the one way to the Father!

Milton Orgeron
orgeronm@yahoo.com

Jon said...

Um, jg, you're doing your cause more harm than good here in comparing your opponents to Nazis.

Having read the whole report (other than the appendices), it looks to me like the commision essentially confirmed the status quo as it stands in TEC at this time on bishops and blessings, while pushing for more work to be done at the international level. All in all, a fairly safe and probably helpful report.

Jon

jg6544 said...

Milton, I'm a sinner. Being homosexual and loving a man because I cannot love any women is not one of my sins. I have nothing to repent of on that score. Period. You appear to disagree, which only begins to describe the vast gulf that separates us.

Jon, if the Right doesn't want to be associated with Nazis, they can quit acting like Nazis.

Jon said...

Wow, jg, just wow.

Do y'all think Godwin's Law applies in this case?

Jon

peter said...

Absolutely,

It always applies to the debater holding the weakest set of cards, They are being forced to draw from a deck they keep under the table (the one with emotional pictures of Nazis and hairy white bubbas wearing wife beaters).

And as to bring in other causes such as feninism, as "allies". Listen, I was at the first Plano meeting in reaction to all of this. We had women preists there, women speakers, etc.

This particular issue absolutely cuts across gender.

Thats why Russell and these others have to use phony scare tactics and imaginary enemys (spot on Henry).

Keeps liberal leaning, half listening, pew potatos in line.

Ironically, when they do this, they sound , just like Pat Robertson, crafty, only with a different spin.

Jon said...

That's painting with a pretty broad brush there. Most liberals, like Susan Russell and Louie Crew, are too sensible to compare conservatives to Nazis.

Personally, I'm inclined to think Integrity is on the right track on blessings and the ordination of partnered gay and lesbian people, although I also think discretion at this time will help their position more at this time than making a hard push.

Jon