Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Day Nine: The Grand Finale

If the old adage "May you live in interesting times" holds any appeal for you, General Convention 2006 is right up your alley. Despite predictions that "nothing would happen" and the despite the glacial progress on legislation in the House of Deputies we have not only given the Anglican Communion its first female primate, we have come to clarity that:
  • we are committed to our interdependence as members of the Anglican Communion (passing resolutions affirming interdependence, regretting the impact of the actions of General Convention 2003 on some members of the communion and committing to participate in exploring the creation of an Anglican Covenant)
and
  • we are committed to the inclusion of gay and lesbian people in the life and work of the church, refusing to pass a resolution that included moratoria on consecration of gay/lesbian bishops and same sex blessings.

Here's one analysis from Kendall Harmon's titusonenine: The strategy of leaders of the Anglican church at Columbus had been to engineer the moderate middle ground to be Windsor-compliant, marginalising the radical liberals and the orthodox, for the sake of unity. This strategy failed. In the end, the key resolutions were too liberal for the conservatives or too conservative for the liberals.

I think Kendall is probably right. I also think the strategists mis-read the "moderate middle" -- both in Deputies and Bishops -- who are just not willing to turn the clock back on inclusion or to make gay and lesbian people bear the burden for our participation in the Anglican Communion.

I think two of the watchwords for this convention have been "clarity" and "honesty" -- and yesterday we got both. Anyone who has ever done relationship counseling knows that one of the core values of authentic relationship is honesty -- and so for us as the American Episcopal Church to be in authentic relationship with our Anglican family we MUST be honest about who we are.

I applaud the courage of a church not willing to "hold its nose and vote anyway" for a resolution that did not tell the truth about who we are (as urged by Special Committee member Dan Martins) and believe the action of the House of Deputies in defeating A161 yesterday set the stage for creating a response to Windsor that will give us a way forward rather insist on a way apart: either from our Anglican family or our gay and lesbian baptized.

I deeply appreciated Bishop Charles Jenkins' words in the House of Bishops yesterday: we must be honest about the fact that we are a church of two minds on some issues AND a church willing to walk together anyway. "We must give back the anxiety to those who handed it to us," he said by finding a way to express that to our Anglican Communion family so we can move on in mission and ministry.

Our last legislative day will begin with a called joint session where deputies and bishops will together receive a "mind of the house" statement being crafted as-we-speak by a committee appointed last night by the Presiding Bishop.

Interesting times, as they say. "They" also say "it's not over until the fat lady sings" and she hasn't even warmed up yet ... so stay tuned!

71 comments:

John Gibson said...

Perhaps a majority of the delegates are of one mind - that this fight has gone on long enough and should be settled, one way or the other, once-and-for-all.

Chip said...

"We must be honest about the fact that we are a church of two minds on some issues AND a church willing to walk together anyway."

Rev. Susan, in the House of Deputies the last few days, the tension cut like a knife. The lack of respect for opposing camps was palpable as people cut off each other in debate. We seem to be "willing to walk together" only at the bare minimum level, if that.

Peace of Christ,
Chip

Jeff Martinhauk said...

I really like the "one church, two minds" thing.

It explains the dichotomy well. It also helps to explain the burden, which I think falls on the conservative/orthodox, to love and live with those with whom they disagree.

I am willing to live with them, and serve in one church with them. But what I keep hearing here is that because I don't interpret Scripture or Tradition in the same way they do, that I am not following Scripture or Tradition. That isn't true. It is a different interpretation. Not a lack of interpretation. As I've said on my morning post, it is a big difference, and it takes a small mind not to see that difference.

Not being willing to accept the diversity of opinions and personalities that lead to those differences is the quality I see on the conservative side. Do we have some on the liberal side who do not want the orthodox side with us? Sure. But that does not appear to me to be the "mind of the house." It appears to be a small minority of the far left. I think the majority of the church wants those who would only have their way or no way to acknowledge that they can have their way so long as they do not insist that they must also impose their way on others.

j

John Gibson said...

Got an Email from a friend at the convention who says Griswold is pressuring the HoD to accept a moratorium so that our bishops will be invited to Lambeth in two years. So to his way of thinking, it is all about taking tea in the Palace gardens every few years. Griswold has been a boneless wonder since day one. We will be well rid of him.

Jeff Martinhauk said...

I think it depends on the wording.

And I think it is about... honesty and clarity.

If we say we are willing to accept a moratorium on gay bishops for two years until Lambeth in order to be able to further the listening process, and that we also have no desire or intent to effect a permanent moratium, I could live with that.

If we effect a moratorium in any way on same-sex unions, I could not live with that.

Bishops are a very limited number and affect a very few lives (at least so long as we have straight bishops who will stand up for us in their positions of leadership). If the period was finite I believe it would show a willingness to dialogue.

Unions affect a great many number of lives, and I believe cannot be negotiated at the expense of communal unity.

That's my take, anyway.

j

Jeff Martinhauk said...

To be clear (before people jump all over it) when I say bishops affect a very few lives- I mean simply that the number of people who receive the sacrament of consecration to become a bishop are far fewer than the people who partake of "unionship" (? - what should properly be called marriage) in same-sex blessings.

j

John Gibson said...

"If we say we are willing to accept a moratorium on gay bishops for two years until Lambeth in order to be able to further the listening process, and that we also have no desire or intent to effect a permanent moratium, I could live with that."

I couldn't. Did Rosa Parks agree to sit in the back of the bus (or stand) until the city council had time to consider the matter?

It is wrong on another count. We do not presume to instruct other provinces about internal matters - polygamy; "folk" medicine; the age of consent for women, etc. - so by what right do they instruct us?

The Communion is not a College of Cardinals. There is no doctrinal enforcer. We respect the rights of others to believe differently from the way we do about some things. They must respect us.

Lorian said...

I'd just like to take a moment to breathe a deep sigh of relief, to thank God for the movement of the Holy Spirit, and to offer my hand of friendship to the conservative folks and say that I hope we will continue to walk together in love, despite our differences.

Lorian

Jon said...

I'm with Jeff on a temporary moratorium on the consecration of partnered gay and/or lesbian bishops. I also think that a temoporary moratorium on the development of rites of blessing at the national and diocesan levels might also be possible because it couldn't trump the rubrics that let bishops authorize special services for special occasions.

Jon

John Gibson said...

Per the AP wire - the Delegates wussed out and accepted Griswold's resolution.

Oh goody, we can do this all over again in another three years. Meanwhile, nobody is going to listen to anything.

Jeff Martinhauk said...

It looks like what I wanted (a limit on the term of the resolution) was offered as an amendment but was defeated.

Looking around it looks like some people are feeling pretty dejected over this. I am not. We have accomplished so much in this convention. I've listed some of how far we've come in these 10 days here.

I think we need to make sure we don't make the same mistake of having the same "I have to have it all my way or its all ruined" attitute that the orthodox do, or this will never end.

j

Catherine + said...

I will stand beside lorian and offer my hand of friendship as well because, despite of the differences, we are "family", the family of God. And my conservative brothers and sisters are that, my brothers and sisters in Christ.

Catherine+

John Gibson said...

"Looking around it looks like some people are feeling pretty dejected over this."

In my case, disgusted, but not dejected.

John Gibson said...

And by the way, what "listening process"? Surely, you don't think they're listening.

John Gibson said...

"this will never end."

It will one day, Jeff, one way or the other, but not as long as either side persists in the foolish notion that there is some kind of middle ground. We've tried offering something of that nature by saying we aren't asking them to leave. They have made it absolutely clear that isn't acceptable (although they're very adept at marching right up to the precipice and then backing off again, which is what I expect will happen this time).

So let's look at the two sides' positions.

US: Homosexuality is within the norms of human sexual behavior; is not immoral or unGodly, and homosexuals should be fully included in the community of baptized Christians. We aren't changing our sexual orientations; we aren't under any duty to be celibate because we are homosexuals; read in the traditional Anglican way, the Bible cannot be said to stand for the propositions that homosexuals or their natural sexual behaviors are wrong.

THEM: Homosexuality is a perversion; contrary to the laws of nature and human design; is profoundly wrong in the sight of God, and should not be tolerated by the Church. It should be a bar to full inclusion as baptized Christians. Homosexuals should change their sexual orientations (and they can if they try) or accept that their sexual orientation is a sentence of lifelong celibacy. They can be members of the Church provided they genuinely repent of the sin of homosexuality (or homosexual behavior) and sin no more. We don't want those who won't worshipping with us.

Now, maybe you see a middle ground there or maybe you think they'll change (I know I can't), but the middle ground escapes me and the Episcopal Church is not going to backtrack.

In order for dialog to be productive, there must be some hope of it producing a resolution acceptable to all sides. If ever that possibility existed, it doesn't now in my opinion. Therefore, what we are doing is talking past each other and that is a huge waste of everyone's time.

Jeff Martinhauk said...

John G. -

I don't agree with your either/or thinking. I agree that there may be no middle ground, but I don't think that middle ground is the solution the convention was seeking, from what I have read.

Look here at the post on the proceedings for the vote on the moratorium and read what ++Schori said about the two conjoined twins. I believe that is very much what we have. We're not going to make the two one, nor or we going to separate the two.

We have one church of two minds.

We have to eliminate the either/or mentality and replace it with the "both/and" mentality. I don't know what that means yet. Does that mean a province within a province? A conservative Anglican sub-province of TEC? Does it mean simply that we continue to have some conservative bishops within TEC? I don't know. But we are not of one mind and we never will be.

The reconciliation process is not to make us "of one mind" but instead to have us come to the conclusion that we decide to walk together despite the fact that we are not. Do we value each other in community despite our differences?

I cannot justify exluding any human being, not even those who hate me, from the inclusive love of Christ. To cast those out who disagree with me is contrary to everything that tells me I am loved myself.

That is the conclusion we must seek to work towards during this time of reconciliation. At least in my opinion.

John Gibson said...

"The reconciliation process is not to make us "of one mind" but instead to have us come to the conclusion that we decide to walk together despite the fact that we are not. Do we value each other in community despite our differences?"

I think that's a great idea - right up there with whiskers on kittens and my winning the Lottery. But the problem is, I do not see a shred of evidence, not a one, that the other side is even remotely interested. Doesn't seem to me to be much point to agreeing with ourselves all the time.

Anonymous said...

The conservatives don't fail to see the differences in intrepretation. We are clear in our position. One interpretation is consistent with the teachings of the church from its inception. The other option is not consistent with the church's reading of Scripture or tradition. Rather, that option is a new prophetic call by its own proponents' labelling. So again, its not that we don't see the difference. We see it quite well. Perhaps its the difference between these two perpectives (failing to see the difference vs. seeing that there clearly is a differnce) which needs to be rehashed.

As for accepting diversity of opionion, conservative accept that there is diversity of opinion. However, that diversity of opinion has included opinions which are inconsistent with the mind of the Anglican Communion at large as has been clearly articulated by WR and Lambeth 1.10.

The Anglican Communion does not oblige its members to stay within communion. It does, however, expect that all the members of the club will respect the mutually agreed upon rules. No one member can snub the others by disregarding the rules and agreements by which they have voluntarily bound themselves to the others in communion. Otherwise, all are free to do likewise and the concept that they are of like mind and have communion is a farce.

TEC may indeed believe that it is leading a prophetic move. That move, sadly, is not within the realm of communion as currently defined.

Jeff Martinhauk said...

To anonymous of 1:46 -

I believe my interpretation of scripture and tradition is consistent as well.

What I have said and will continue to say is that the conservative point of view fails to see the difference between the differing views on scripture and tradition and the view that only their view is correct. Your comments prove that.

We've had the discussions and debates about that ad naseum and they are here and elsewhere archived. Elizabeth I did not form one church with two minds-- protestant and catholic-- in order to have one point of view take precendence over the others. That simply isn't our history.

Doctrine isn't the issue. Agreement isn't the issue. Reconciliation is.

To Jim S. - I don't agree that the rest of the Communion isn't listening. I think the vocal minority, who do represent a lot of voices in the Communion, are talking loudly. But I think there are other reasonable and moderate voices in the Communion. I think they also see that the growth in population in the world prevents us from casting out those countries in good conscience. It prevents us from, in good conscience, walking away from them just because their cultural experience hasn't yet enabled them to understand the fully inclusive nature of Christ. That is where our mission comes back to reconciliation, love, hope, and patience.

j

John Gibson said...

Thank you EVERSO much, Anon., for making my point for me!

karl maria said...

Jeff,

Unfortunately, coming from the Diocese of Maine, where we'll be electing a bishop coadjutor next year, I'm more than a little unhappy. I was going to a very nice, inclusive, but somewhat ghetto-ized liberal alternative anglican church, but felt the need to be in a more inclusive and diverse contex, ie with folks with kids, older folks, and a larger congregation. I attended the consecration of +Gene and was moved at that event... by a palpable sense of the Holy Spirit in the room and by the shock at the way the dissenters (Bena, et al.) were allowed to poop in the punch, so to speak. I eventually started attending a lovely, progressive ECUSA church here in Maine and have become very involved, with the youth groups, the Vestry, on a Discernment Committee for a new rector, delegate to the Diocesan Convention, etc.

What brought me to the Episcopal Church in the first place was that it appeared to be a place where the talk was walked. And now, instead, we (gays and lesbians) and we (straights) have to sip the punch with the poop in it.

It's very frustrating. What about the search process for our new bishop? What if the call discerned is for a lesbian or gay man in a committed relationship? Or should we just tell them not to apply? Did we just do that? Do I belong here any more? (Of course I do... but I don't feel like it tonight)

Polity is just another fancy word for politics as usual. They kill people in Africa for being gay. That's not politics. That sounds like about as far away from the "Reign of God" as you can get.

Miffed in Maine

Jeff Martinhauk said...

Karl -

I hear you. I think the question is, "How do we go about changing the world?"

I don't think it is with an "in your face" attitude of "we're going to do it our way and "f" you if you don't like it."

That is such the American way- we have been accused of imperialism in this and I think to a certain degree that is valid criticism.

What is the much harder path- harder because it requires trust that God is working in all things, that it is not necessarily our victory to see but that we may only be players in the larger victory of history- is the path that requires us to have compassion not only for the oppressed but also for the oppressor. That the oppressor is also the victim of his own fear and hatred.

I believe that is the message of Jesus. Jesus forgave even those who oppressed him. That is where we are. Do we forgive? Do we work for reconciliation? Do we walk forward in Christ's path?

Or do we say "f* you"- you don't see it, dummy- and leave the discussion.

I don't think it is the latter.

But it is certainly the harder road.

Jeff Martinhauk said...

There also is a similar discussion of the historical context of similar plights going on in the "Sportsmanship" post on my blog, here.

j

hopkins said...

I'm from the Diocese of Olympia, and the resolution convention just passed means that we cannot even nominate the Dean of our Cathedral, Robert Taylor, for our bishop next September. What about his vocation? Does anyone care?

Does ++Katharine think that once she climbed the ladder, she can just pull it up behind her and ignore the rest of the minorities below because it's more expedient for her? That's what it looks like from here.

Louie Crew was right: convention has "cut the tongue out of the Holy Spirit" for GLBT people.

karl maria said...

There may be a political equivalence between not adopting a resolution that is essentially a moratorium on lgbt bishops and saying "f" you... but there is no moral equivalence.

And pardon me, but it feels wrong... and sort of like an admission that what was done in 2003 WAS wrong. In that sense, what has been done now is even more questionable.

I believe in Jesus too. And love your enemies, yes. But bow down to their wishes? Do harm to your neighbor because they want you to?

Sorry, I don't buy it. Again, this is politics, not faith, in my opinion.

KM

karl maria said...

To put it another way... For what will it profit them if they gain the whole communion but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?

Jeff Martinhauk said...

I guess I just believe that we are nothing without community.

If we gain equality but are alone, then what is equality worth?

I think we have to be patient. Again, if we believe that the Holy Spirit put VGR into the episcopate we must also believe that the Holy Spirit has plans with this resolution. We can't claim the Holy Spirit's workings only when convenient.

karl maria said...

Sometimes there are other spirits that are at work... this resolution was brought up without lots of time to understand it and feel it. There are reports online that there were Bishops seated with the Deputies telling them that they WILL vote for the resolution... and there also appears to be some sort of dissenting opinion that has been agreed to by a number of progressive bishops.

That said, I completely agree with your statement about community. As I mentioned it's partly behind why I became Episcopal.

Sorry for venting. I'm just very, very sad about this.

KM

John Gibson said...

"I guess I just believe that we are nothing without community."

WHAT community? We have exactly the community now that we had this time last week and are going to have this time next week. How can you even THINK it included, includes, will include, or under any set of circumstances conceivable could include the AAC crowd? They don't want us and have made that abundantly clear. Fortunately, we, not they, are in the majority, even given today's setback.

Jeff Martinhauk said...

John G. -

I understand that you are angry. I get it. I'm not against you.

We have a decision to make here.

How do we best further God's agenda? The agenda of love and inclusion?

You say that the AAC will never include us. As I was once told by somebody a lot smarter than me, I do not know if we are called to win this struggle, I only know that we are called to press it forward.

Such is this. We are called to be a part of the one body of Christ. So are they. We must work ceaselessly to ensure that God's will is done. That isn't going to happen if we aren't talking to each other.

Humility is required if we are to submit to God's will and not our own. We must trust that God will win this struggle. We must understand that we may not see the victory. We must know that it is worthwhile enough to keep pressing on in the manner of Jesus to ensure that everyone-- EVERYONE-- even those who do not want to hear us-- can be at the same table with us for another discussion.

That is what this is about.

I'm sorry you are angry. We got a lot at this convention. It is so easy to focus on what we don't have. Let's not lose sight of what we have gained in the last 10 days- a woman primate. staving off the end to same-gender unions. 3 resolutions supporting AIDS/HIV ministries. Support to fight the Federal Marriage Amendment. A host of other issues. We have gotten a lot. There is more to come. We must trust that what is around the corner- yet unseen- on our journey is good. And wait, travel patiently with God- to get it.

karl maria said...

Yes, we got a woman primate who tells us in one instance she is fully committed to full inclusion of lgbt folks in the church (assume she meant from lay to primate)... but then quite apologetically asks us to leave the room... but we're not slamming the door on you ... no. No door slamming.

Twice she said, this is the best we can do at this time. Twice it sounded like someone who has been defeated and backed into a corner.

I get that you're trying to spin this positively. But you cannot polish a poop. Yes, some other good things happened. But this was not one of them.

KM

Jeff Martinhauk said...

It isn't spin, it is what I believe.

I don't know if you have read the text of the proceedings today, but it is worth it. I've posted the link in one of the comments, above.

What we know is this: that if this resolution did not pass that we would not have been invited to Lambeth in 2008. We would essentially be booted from the Communion.

So let's imagine that alternative- the one for which Karl and John G. want. The resolution fails. TEC gets gay bishops - maybe elects one or two over the next two years. And, in the meantime, we get permanently removed from the Communion. We are no longer part of the Worldwide Anglican Communion. The tradition from which we came will have told us that they do not want us.

Good riddance, we say. Meanwhile, the gay Nigerians are dying. We have no effective ministry established in Nigeria, and no way to help them. It will take years to establish such a ministry.

The millions and millions of Anglicans who are in the countries where the Communion have a presence will remain entrenched in the tradtions they are being taught- the Communion will move further right firmly under the control of the Archbishop of Nigeria and his associates. Those millions of people will never hear of the good news of Jesus Christ who focuses more on love than judgement.

What we have now is a chance. A chance to move forward with balance. For the left to remain at the table. Peter Akinola cannot take control because we have done what we is required of us to say that we want to stay. The balance remains. The millions of people around the world still have a hope of hearing something different. Will it happen tomorrow? No. Will it happen two years from now? Probably not. But maybe in 20 years. Maybe in 50 years.

In the other scenario, it could never have happened. Or would have been much more difficult.

If you are Christian, then despair is a sin. Hope means that God has a plan and that plan is in motion. Just because we don't always understand it doesn't invalidate it. I don't know if things would or will turn our as I've posted. I only know that God will triumph in the end. And I believe that God is on the side of inclusion, justice, and equality for all.

DF in Massachusetts said...

First... I like Karl Maria! Go New England!

And Jeff... I think you got the lingo down, but you aren't quite sure of what it means.

It appears that this is a "non-binding" resolution, and that is important for us to remember. But it is also important for us to remember that straight women (i.e. +Schori) who exclude a segment of society so that they can exclusive feast at the banquet (i.e. Lambeth 2008) aren't our allies.

That's not what moves us forward. Compromise is needed at times... pauses are needed at times... but what we're seeing here are straight liberals showing their true colors and willingly sacrificing GLBT people for the sake of being able to attend Lambeth.

As Mark Harris stated recently on his blog "Preludium":

"This is what might be known as preemptive apology. It works very well for those in power in our society and is closely related to the moral stance that suggests that justice must be delayed because the society is just not ready. Such suggestions are almost always accompanied by statements such as, “I know segregation makes for suffering, but if you can just suffer a little longer…” It is important to note that it is seldom the sufferer who holds up such arguments.

It echoes as well that other famous preemption in our days, the preemptive strike doctrine. Preemption requires the ability to take action against potential aggression by stepping in first and dealing a blow. It is often accompanied by saying, “sorry about all the dead bodies.”

Jeff... I know you have stated that you believe what you say and that it's not spin, but it sure smells like spin to me. And, unlike Karl Maria, I don't even think your poop is polished ;-)

John Gibson said...

"We got a lot at this convention."

Over the bitter opposition of the AAC types on everything with the possible exception of HIV assistance (they don't seem to have much trouble with homosexuals who are dying). So I ask you again, you think they WANT to be in communion with us? Never in a million years and you are kidding yourself if you believe otherwise.

Dennis Roberts said...

OK Jeff. Let's say that happens.

We then plant an Episcopal Church in England. There are hundreds of gay clergy there to pull away. Even some gay bishops (Yes, I personally know one gay bishop in the C of E, and know of others).

Then we watch an open minded church - not tied to the establishment - grow in England. It wouldn't have to grow very far before we had more English Episcopalians than the C of E has active.

And no, I don't think it is a pipe dream. Though an American I was confirmed in the UK. I'm over there regularly enough and sit in on the Sunday AM services with 10 communicants. Church buildings are rapidly being converted to bars and restaurants in the UK. Because the C of E is failing the radical right churches are stepping in to fill a need for churches that aren't dead.

The best thing we could do for England is to let the ABC and his friends in Nigeria go away, plant a real alternative to the C of E, and see how long it is before that is seen as the real Church for Anglicans in England.

If we did our job well (and funded it for a while since they are used to government dollars and don't pledge) we could have an active and thriving Episcopal Church in England. We could minister to the poor and imigrants in the UK in ways that the C of E can't seem to do. And we could then ignore the Archbishop of Cant. as irrelevant.

We would be free to show that an open and inclusive church could thrive where a closed Establishment church has (honestly) failed.

Jeff Martinhauk said...

DF -

We went round and round about this on my blog already.

A psychologist once told me that one of the benefits of being raised in a "hetero-normative" environment when we are not hetero is that we learn to see the bigger picture. We learn to embrace both the masculine and the feminine. We learn to see the "both/and"s. We learn to look at things from broader perspectives than our hetero kindred.

That's the place I'm coming from here.

This resolution isn't about electing gay bishops for me. It is about our ability to remain in a relationship so that we might do even bigger things.

You guys don't see it yet. That's ok. We don't have to agree on everything. That's the same thing I've been saying to Tony, Chip, and the rest of our conservative friends on this site.

I value the Communion. I believe we are better off with it. If, on the other hand, we had to stop same-sex unions, prevent gay ordinations, stop baptizing gay folks, or excommunicate gay people, it would be a different story.

That isn't what happened. Our Houses showed repeatedly that they weren't willing to do those things. They showed they weren't willing to discriminate against us even in the election to the episcopate. It was only in the context of this last day, when faced with the choice of being able to further our mission in the global context of the Communion, that this decision was made, and it wasn't taken lightly.

That is good. It shouldn't be. We shouldn't have to trade rights for a place at the table.

There was a clear discussion in the proceedings about an unwillingness to do that. That we only wanted to do this until the next convention. The amendment for that was striken for procedural reasons because the next convention is never obligated by any act of a previous convention.

Look- we don't have to agree.

I still say this isn't about the resolution. It's about faith. Like I told DF on my blog, when we are in the middle of a struggle it is hard to know whether the individual struggles are leading us towards victory or defeat. We only have our faith to guide us. If you examine any of the battles for justice over our history, they are filled with struggle. But justice always prevailed. Doesn't that mean that the plan unfolded as it was supposed to? That God had a plan for each component?

I believe it does. Agree or not on this issue, we gained a lot in this convention. We know that this church is behind us. I'm sorry you don't share that feeling. I can guarantee you that the conservatives are not feeling any sense of elation right now. They believe this church is much more solidly behind us then it is them. Chip, Tony, HG- Am I right?

Jeff Martinhauk said...

Dennis -

That's a great question.

The answer is simple - the conservatives have already answered it, although they draw the wrong conclusions from their own answers.

The numbers aren't there for progressive churches yet. They have shown it. We know it. We've been working at it, but we don't have it. The numbers just aren't there. You can google yourself for the statistics. That's not an opinion of mine, by the way, those are facts, unless something has changed and new figures have been released since I've last seen them.

Now, I don't think that means we need lose hope. But I think it demonstrates the need we have for the full body of Christ to work together.

Here is my theory. There is a thing discussed here several weeks ago call Fowler's Stages of Faith Development. What it says is that Faith development is essentially like psychological development. Some people progress "normally", some fast, and some slow. Some even get stuck in an early stage and can't progress at all.

Progressive Christianity is one of the last stages of development. Most people need assistance to get there. We have to realize that the rest of the church- the rest of the Communion- is very necessary for most people to grow in faith. People cannot just "jump" to the highest level, the most advanced level, of faith development.

We've seen it here on this site time and time again. Conservatives that cannot let go of fear- fear of losing their control over their theology and doctrine. Fear of not having a well-defined sense of structural boundaries around God. Fear of God not being bounded by Scripture.

The church must offer a place for these folks. We must, as our Christian duty, help to mold what this place looks like for them, with them. It won't look like the church you imagine, consecrating gay bishops at will. It also must help them to understand the justice issues at the heart of the matter so that they begin to incorporate those justice issues into that doctrinal structure.

That is how it worked with Slavery. That is how it worked with Women's Ordination. That is how it will work with our inclusion. With patience and compassion, we may be able to make it even smoother.

No, they don't want us. I hear that. I also hear the voice of God saying that we have already won. That this is just working out the details of how to plot the course for the victory lap.

John Gibson said...

I suppose there is one good thing to come out of this convention. We have seen the last of Frank Griswold.

Jeff Martinhauk said...

I will agree with you on that.

:)

Jeffrey Shy said...

As someone else watching these debates and events, I can certainly express a shared disappointment. The "eating poop" is an apt metaphor for what we have had to endure so many times before and are enduring again.
I believe, however, that the actions of the outgoing presiding bishops and those that pushed through this 11th hour compromise are more to be pitied than hated. Although I may be in a minority about this, I do believe that the current paradigm of Christianity as we know it is entering its final days. The upsurge of fundamentalist activity is no more than the actions of persons who are trying to keep the security of the old ways. It is rather like fiddling while Rome burns. The conservative/reactionary persons are clinging "for their lives" to the old ways, but the collapse of the old synthesis is inevitable. I think that we all realize that, whether the Episcopal establishment admits it of not, the genie is already out of the bottle. No amount of apeasement of the fading conservative minority will serve to put it back in again.
As for how the world will view what has happened, I believe that they will see it for what it is...simply a pitiable action by fearful people...rather like a confession obtained under torture. It is rather to be pitied than hated.

Jeffrey Shy, Mesa, Arizona

Jeff Martinhauk said...

Jeff S. -

I agree. And I think it is in that spirit that we have an obligation to them (to have compassion for both the oppressed AND the oppressors) to be with them in their journey forward- even if they were not there for ours. I think that is the message of the Gospel.

j

Jeffrey Shy said...

Jeff M.

Thanks for your reply. I hope, for their sakes, that they are ready to go on the journey. The search for a new Christian identity, whether Episcopalian or not, is not a task for "sissies" if you please. I spent several years of my own time mourning the death of the theist God. It is comforting to think that, between a birth that we did not control and a death that can come any time and unawares, there is some "certainty" on which we can depend. Unfortunately, I no longer believe this to be true. The reign of God will be our own making, not a "Deus ex machina" event that comes on the clouds from heaven.
I am and have been willing to be patient. My greatest pain is not for myself, but for those that will not live to see a more just day for gay and lesbian persons. Although I still live my church (does anyone remember the priest from the "Shoes of the Fisherman" film---"I hate the church, but still I cannot leave her. I love the church, but I still cannot live in her in peace.), I have had to come to view religion and the gospel as existing both inside and outside the church and not necessarily bound by it. Should the truth and my perception of it lead me away from the church, I cannot but follow it. "Here I stand... I can do no other." I only hope that the conservatives can open the closed nature of their world and religious views to consider that things could be different than they had always believed.

Jeff Martinhauk said...

I agree with most of what you've said. I don't discount what I think you mean by a theist God, although I think God is much, much bigger and incomprehensible than what we know about him/her/it/whatever.

I do think that it is more important for us to focus on "bringing heaven to earth" rather than "how we get to heaven," if that is what you mean.

And, for the record, and for clarity- I am disappointed that we were asked by the Communion and especially by the ABC to make the trade-off that we had to make today. I came into convention absolutely convinced that we would probably end up making such a trade-off and that it absolutely would be a bad thing. What I have been arguing is that given that we did have to make it, that this was the way to do it-- first rejecting it to show that we were not in support of it, and then the next day accepting part of it but making it clear in the debate that we were only doing it to further the discussion and that we did expect discussion or we would not honor it.

j

Jeffrey Shy said...

I am a rather early to bed individual, but I agree in major substance with your feelings. It _could_ have been much worse than it was. and it does leave room open for comment. I hope that we can continue to have a REAL dialogue, although I have to admit that in honesty, I cannot see myself going back to "The Bible (read God) said it, I believe it, case closed" in any setting short of a major deterioration of my cortical circuitry.
As for the "getting to heaven," I am afraid that I have no real belief in an afterlife sort of heaven. I believe that, as humanity grows, "God" grows and evolves with us. The "heaven" or "reign" of "God" is what we make it, here and now in ourselves. "God" was more brutal and harsh in former days because WE were more brutal and harsh. For all our failings and fralities, the progress of evolution is clear, and, how knows what we will become if we continue to "grow in the Spirit?"
I do agree with the compromisers in one really important sense, we need to heal our divisions to make real progress in our spiritual development as humans. As long as we are about hating and harming, we will never make any significant gains in achieving a real "Reign of God." We can ALL be better than we are today, and I hope that we all have the opportunity to see better in our own lives.

For tonight, I thank the community for allowing me to express my views. I bid you a "peaceful night and a perfect end."

Jeffrey Shy
Mesa, Arizona

Jeffrey Shy said...

As a PS, please forgive my typos in the above posts. i am afraid that my mind often goes faster than my fingers can follow.

JLS
Mesa, Arizona

Anonymous said...

This is the state of Christianity? Reduced to nasty squabbles via chat boards. No wonder we get such a bad rap.

I am heartbroken by the decision of the Convention today. The resolution adopted compromises the understanding of faith held by most Episcopalians, if not most Anglicans. Would Jesus have urged the disciples not to baptise the poor or infirm because it made the rabbis uncomfortable? No. Why would we urge our brethren not to FULLY INCLUDE their gay and lesbian members and clergy AS THE SPIRIT GUIDES THEM?

I feel abandoned and churchless.

Pisco Sours said...

Well, I don't feel churchless: I have an incredible, supportive parish, with an out lesbian on the vestry even. But a small part of me wonders if this door will ever be slammed on me too. I don't think it will, but I also think maybe I should form contingency plans, you know?

karl maria said...

I can certainly agree with anonymous regarding the churchless comment.

Of course, this is just the reaction I'm feeling now. I'm being honest about that. Praying for reconciliation has helped. But I do feel hurt by this action.

You see, the honest, truly honest and spirit-inspired action was what happened Tuesday evening. When it was recognised that the A161 was palatable neither to progressives nor to the traditionalists. That was the Rosa Parks moment. A moment of clarity and precision, and honesty.

Then the politics began... and when it was announced that the PB and a select group was working on some new language... well, that's when it was clear to me that Rosa was going to the back of the bus again.

It was a crucifixion, as my bishop (and ++Katharine as well) would say. The resurrection will be the hard part, and it may not come in the form of a stable Anglican Communion as some here hope.

Before we can go about doing the great work of the building of paradise, by loving God and our neighbors as ourselves, we must have integrity. Not unity at all cost. But integrity. Not in a prideful show of American Episcopal re-colonization, but in the sense that we know who we are. Instead, both traditionalists and progressives are in a Babylonian captivity of sorts. Our faith will sustain us, but our integrity was what was crucified today in Columbus.

Now, show me the resurrection.

Lisa said...

I've been reading this blog all thru GC, and appreciating Susan's+ reports ... but tonight -- angry as all get-out at our Deputies! - I also need to ask: Who actually owns this blog? -- Susan Russell or Jeff Martinhauk? As far as I can tell, it's this Jeff guy. HELLOOOooooo. Is there a Deputy in the House??

DF in Massachusetts said...

Hehehehehe Lisa,

I think Jeff has taken over this blog, plus he's taken over as Rector of All Saints Pasadena, and he's gotten a psychologist to provide a stamp of approval on his opinions.

But if you really want some fun do check out his pro-segregation comments in the replies to the latest "Sports" post on his own blog!

Seems Jeff wants all voices heard and listened to, as long as he gets the most air time ;)

Anonymous said...

"Would Jesus have urged the disciples not to baptise the poor or infirm because it made the rabbis uncomfortable? No. Why would we urge our brethren not to FULLY INCLUDE their gay and lesbian members and clergy AS THE SPIRIT GUIDES THEM?" Uh, adult baptism is about repentance and belief. And, to state the obvious, our church is in a disagreement about what behavior or behaviors need to be foresworn and repented of. (To state my view, I agree with the traditionalist camp and am unconvinced that sexual activity outside of marriage is the call of God. I say this not as a fundamentalist or conservative--tho' I am sure this blog will call me that--but as a chastened and reformed liberal.) I don't see how this will ever go away--this divide that is. And there is ill health on both sides, and in large measure.

Jeff Martinhauk said...

Lisa -

Susan will be returning soon.

The General Convention has a very demanding schedule and she is not able to participate in both the activities of convention and all of her normal activities.

I'm sure that she does not share my optimism on yesterday's events.

I most assuredly have not taken over as All Saints' rector; you can see on our parish blog here that my rector has quite different opinions than I do.

j

Jeff Martinhauk said...

DF -

I am certainly not "pro-segregationalist" and have never said so.

What I said was that at a time when African-American's had no rights, "separate but equal" was a step forward. It wasn't the final step, but it was a step forward which lead to legalized equality under the law (of course, actual equality still doesn't exist so we still have miles to travel).

Don't selectively quote me to suit your own purposes.

I get that you don't like me or my positions, but please don't misrepresent me into a racist. That could not be further from the truth.

karl maria said...

Jeff and others,

Does anyone know where we can get a breakdown of how the various deputations voted on B033? Thanks.

karl maria

Jeff Martinhauk said...

Karl -

I'm not sure but I don't think it was a roll-call vote.

So I don't think there are records of exactly who voted for what. There is some general feedback on who voted for what based on visual observation on the conservative blog by Kendall Harmon TitusOneNine.

Also, at the risk of taking more "air time," I've clarified my position on my blog and maybe everyone will understand where I'm coming from without being so angry. I think its about who to be angry with, not about whether or not to be angry.

j

Catherine + said...

karl maria, if you go to the Integrity website I am sure the information is there, but if not, here it is:

The vote by orders on B033 that had 75 affirmative votes in the clergy order and 73 in the lay order. There were 24 no votes and 10 divided votes in the clergy order, and 21 no votes in the lay order and 11 divided.

DF in Massachusetts said...

Jeff,

I'm not misrepresenting what you said on your blog. You are, however, re-inventing American history.

After the Civil War African Americans were given rights. Not nearly enough rights, but they were given some. It was decades later that those rights began to be taken away. A process that was approved by the Supreme Court in 1896. The Supreme Court's ruling made it possible for further rights to be taken away... a process that continued into the 1910's.

By asserting that African-Americans had no rights to begin with, that racial segregation was, as you put in in your blog, "'Separate but equal' was not in and of itself bad during its time. It was a step forward.", you are putting yourself in the pro-segregation camp. And "during its time" isn't some long ago age... it's my lifetime! I remember watching movies in segregated theatres, I remember water fountains everywhere that had "Colored" and "White" signs above them, and there's a reason why the Rest Plazas on the Florida Turnpike have 4 restrooms at each plaza... they were built in my lifetime so that there were "white" and "colored" restrooms for both men and women.

Just because you style yourself liberal and attend All Saints Pasadena doesn't mean you can re-create American history. I do encourage others to visit your blog so that they can see the context of your comments. Your knowledge of history, however, is really out-of-whack, and is having an adverse impact on comments you make via blogs.

I will give you this... I get the impression from your comments that you are trying to describe a feeling that what happened yesterday at GC was a setback. What you are writing, however, is that it was a step backwards but ok nonetheless. There's a big difference between those two and I don't think you're grasping that. But I think you're trying!

Catherine + said...

I migth add to my post to karl maria, that the House of Deputies had only 30 mintues to debate and discuss before voting.

Some say that if the vote had been taken after lunch, the outcome would have been very different.

My theory is that this particular issue was held until the very last moment, when the HD was the most exhausted, most worn down and then it was literally rammed through by the HB or at least part of them. Next time this issue better be at the forefront and that we brook no delays in its determination.

As for ++Katharine. Please do not judge her too harshly with this one situation. There is a strategy in hand and tho we may not be very keen on it, we do need to get to Lambeth and have her presence made known, acknowledged, accepted and carried through so she may gain the necessary leverage back here to "overthrow" the radical right who would see our American church reduced to nothing so they can have their way.

So I urge you who are discouraged, we have gained a very powerful ally in ++Katharine. Let the Holy Spirit continue to work, tho we may not understand it now, it will become clear later.

Catherine+

Jeff Martinhauk said...

DF -

I hardly think an analysis of the history of segregation is on-topic for this post. But to respond quickly- the fact that the law gave African-Americans rights after the civil war does not mean that they had them in-fact. Separate but equal was a step towards implementation of the rights that were never implemented in the south. Maybe as a northerner that's hard to understand. I'm from Texas, and discrimination, while illegal, is still very much alive there.

Now, let's refocus on that post here. If you want to continue the discussion on segregation let's move it to my blog as I think it is off topic here.

j

Jeff Martinhauk said...

Incidentally, the just-out press release from Integrity reiterates everything in my blog this morning.

Not to claim more air-time- I'm just saying there is validity to my points, or at least there are more people who feel the way I do.

j

karl maria said...

I want to know how the individual deputations voted, by diocese. I am sure it had to be recorded somewhere, otherwise there'd be no idea of whether an order/deputation was divided or not.

Many thanks to +Catherine for her thoughts, and to Jeff too. I agree in a large part with what you say, only without the apologia. And I'm still not "over it" (my words... quotes for emphasis)... ++Katharine talked alot about relationships and building trust. This action did not win a lot of trust in my heart. When I see how she walks in Christ as PB, I'll get a better sense. But my guard is up now. And it will stay up for a while.

Yesterday I felt like the robbed man down and out on the road to Jericho, when he is passed by, first by the priest and then the Levite. I'm still waiting for the good samaritan to show up. Wait a second... turns out that's supposed to be me. ;-) And this brought to mind a powerful workshop I participated in with an expert in psychodramatic therapy. Each of us, at varying times in our lives plays the role of the victim, the robber, the Priest, the Levite and the Good Samaritan...

And a little peace came into my heart again. Enough to offer this prayer:

God of reconciliation,
Your love for the whole world is boundless.
The cracks we make in everything let your light in.
May right-thinking flower again,
As right-doing returns.
So I pray, in Christ's perfect Name.

Jason said...

To anonymous at 5:54... why take a tone of hostility and sarcasm with the "Uh.." It just brings needless ill will and darkness where we should be trying to share the sunlight of the Spirit. It is not difficult to see why we are in such a state of disrepair, if this blog can be seen as a microcosm of the Church. There is so little love and so much opinion.

An d yet, even still, I find my self adding to the debate. Oh, the humanity! I don't think you can legitmately refer to yourself as one of the "liberals" of the church if you think sex is only for marriage and marriage is only for heterosexuals. Call me crazy, but I think that seats you at least with the conservatives, if not the fundamentalists.

I think this really all comes down to whether you believe God's ultimate authority is expressed in your own heart and in the hearts of the collective congregation, or whether it is expressed -- ultmately -- in the Bible. I believe the former, and I would guess you believe the latter. (Based on the sex-is-only-for-marriage/marriage-is-only-for-heterosexuals doctrine). Isn't that is what makes me a "liberal" and you a "conservative"?

John Gibson said...

"As for ++Katharine. Please do not judge her too harshly with this one situation. There is a strategy in hand and tho we may not be very keen on it, we do need to get to Lambeth and have her presence made known, acknowledged, accepted and carried through so she may gain the necessary leverage back here to "overthrow" the radical right who would see our American church reduced to nothing so they can have their way."

I disagree. "Trust her" sounds an awful lot like "trust me", and we learned to our sadness with Bill Clinton that trust and a token will get you a ride on the city bus and not much more than that.

I'm willing to give her this one mistake, but trust her? No, not after this. Not yet.

As for Lambeth and our presence there, IF she's even invited, she's going to be insulted and denigrated by the Southern Hemisphere bigots. They haven't listened - ever - and they're not about to start listening to a "mere" woman; any of them. She's going to learn what the back of the bus feels like and '08 Lambeth is going to come out with something so vicious it makes '98 Lambeth look like a Human Rights Campaign board meeting.

We would have been far better off to have stood up for what we believe in and let the AC take what action it felt it needed to (my bet: it would have fulminated, but done not one thing more than it's going to do anyway). We would at least have come out of that not having sold out our principles on the cheap.

Catherine + said...

To karl maria. I am trying to track down,if possible, how each diocesan deputation voted. Will let you know when I find out but if someone else finds out before me, please post it or the link so we can see who did what, o k?

Ok.

Catherine+

Catherine + said...

On Elizabeth Kaeton+'s blog, she described ++Katharine as "slowly turning away from the podium, looking very sad." Elizabeth+ was there so it is her firsthand account. I don't think ++Katharine likes it any more than we do. If only we could get a bishop or two to spill the beans on what really happened in the HB.

Catherine+

Catherine + said...

John Gibson, a Bill Clinton ++Katharine isn't. I laugh at the comparison, but not at you.

We don't know the complete set of circumstances of what happened in the Bishops' meeting, but Elizabeth Kaeton+ was on the floor during the joint session and she described ++Katharine as extremely sad and weighed down by the turn of events. We need to NOT judge her so quickly based on what happened on the 21st. We don't have all the facts of what transpired, we only have the result and how that came about is not crystal clear.

++Katharine began her ministry in Oregon and her reputation for fairness and healing precedes her to Convention. I will stick to what I know, and that is the priest who began her ministry in Oregon and will finish it as our next Presiding Bishop. One statement does not a failed PB make.

As for Lambeth, she'll get invited or incurr the wrath of many a woman and many a woman priest, as well as outrage from many other quarters. And as for the plebes in the Global South, I have every confidence she can and will handle the puny minds in the ilk of Akinola and his cronies.

Remember that the Holy Spirit chose her to lead us...I would not think of insulting that Spirit by judging the work of that Holy Spirit too harshly and so soon.

Catherine+

John Gibson said...

Catherine, you're welcome to your opinion, but ++Katherine severely disappointed me. She could have said "no". She didn't. Whether she was sad about it or not, the fact remains, she went along. This doesn't look like a profile in courage to me.

We can always hope she has the capacity to grow in the job, but at the moment, we have no more than hope.

To the person who said that the consent of three bishops was required for newly elected bishops, that's wrong. Elections must be consented to by a majority of the House of Bishops and diocesan standing committees. And the plain English of that is, THERE WON'T BE ANY MORE GAY OR LESBIAN BISHOPS FOR A WHILE THANKS TO THIS NONSENSE. Good job, bishops.

DF in Massachusetts said...

I think we should be cognizant that Katharine is new to the PB thing, but that's not a good reason to let her performance on that infamous day get a pass.

Part of being a good bishop is being a good servant, and Katharine can't be a good servant if we aren't able to tell her what we really need.

It's ok for us to be disappointed in her right now. It's ok to tell her clearly what we need. Expending our energy making excuses for her won't serve any good. Being honest with her will serve all of us well. And I believe we can do so in a productive way.

Jeff Martinhauk said...

I agree that we don't know what brought Katharine to her position, so we should hold our judgement.

But that doesn't mean withholding accountability.

As I've said in my morning blog, I think we have a call to action here. We need to write letters. We need to start a movement. We, as the very people who have been traded in for this place at Lambeth, need to begin to ask the questions about what was really going on to prompt this unusual vote at GC.

j

John Gibson said...

A letter-writing campaign is already underway in my parish.

karl maria said...

Catherine+

You can see a grainy video of (+)+Katharine's speech to the HoD yourself at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwPWEdf_H3M

It seems to corroborate Elizabeth+ in her assessment. I still am interested in knowing who dissented (both the bishops and the HoD deputations that voted no or were divided)...

I've decided that one of the things I'm going to do as a result of this action is reduce my pledge to my local church (yes this will hurt us), and channel that reduced amount directly to Integrity.

Peace

Karl Maria