Observations on the current state of ECUSA affairs from Dallas Morning News journalist Jeffrey Weiss:
Horse apples happen
May 12, 2006
When I came onto the religion beat more than 10 years ago, I was hoping for a bit less spin and fewer horse apples than I had to deal with when covering secular politics and stuff. My naive hope was dashed pretty quickly, as I recall. But I’m not so jaded that I can’t still be disappointed.
Here’s the set-up: Last weekend, the Episcopal Diocese of California elected a new bishop.
It says something about the state of that denomination and American culture that the big headline out of the election was something like “Californians elect openly heterosexual male bishop.” But that’s not my point.
A minority of American Episcopalians have been loudly viewing with alarm decisions made by the national body over the past several years. Top of that list of decisions is the ratification at the last General Assembly of the denomination’s first openly gay bishop, the Rev. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire. (Much of the leadership of the Anglican world ain’t happy with that idea, neither.)
It’s just another argument about who is accurately discerning God’s will.
Fast forward to last week. Three of the candidates for the California post were openly gay. The Viewers With Alarm viewed that with, well, alarm. Warning in the weeks before the vote that California’s decision could further rupture the ECUSA and the Anglican Communion.
So the Californians overwhelmingly approve Rev. Mark Andrus. How did the conservative American Anglican Council respond? Would you guess that the group’s statement:
A) Graciously congratulated the Californians on a wise selection, suggesting it might indicate a way to bring the various factions together.
B) Gloated a bit about how the Californians took the conservatives’ advice and offered some additional pointed suggestions.
C) Condemned the Californians for not being conservative enough and hinted that this election could result in further splintering.
Exactly. Here are some key quotes:
"How will activists respond to the fact that a diocese which has for years been a bastion of amorphous Christianity and aggressive revisionism chose a white, heterosexual, Southern male as bishop? Did the diocese succumb to reported pressure from the national Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA), including Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, to avoid electing a partnered homosexual? Is such pressure in fact part of a coordinated strategy intended to mislead the Communion?"
"…Moving slowly with caution is not stopping, and ECUSA is practicing a theology contrary to Scripture, Anglican doctrine, and 2,000 years of Christian teaching. The life and practice of ECUSA clearly illustrates its commitment to a new gospel despite claims and protestations to the contrary.”
Sez I: The only thing worse than a bad loser is a bad winner.
I’ll grant that the California election was hardly a slam-dunk for the conservatives. The Rev. Andrus agreed with the consecration of Bishop Robinson. But surely there was way for the AAC to find a hint of graciousness? Whether or not it’s good theology, it’s good manners.
I’m not saying, by the way, that the spin-and-horse-apples phenomenon is linked only to religious conservatives. This was just the example in my e-box this week.
Yr hmbl srvnt,