Saturday, July 01, 2006

More from the PB-elect

Portion of an interview in The Oregonian

How would you describe the process of becoming nominated for the office of presiding bishop?
It was a struggle. Several people over the years suggested it to me. About three years ago, the bishops had to elect someone to serve on the nominating committee. I thought I would be interested in doing that. And one of the bishops said, "You can't. We can't elect someone who might be eligible as a candidate." I thought that was pretty ridiculous, and I told him so. I had only been a bishop for two years. I was a woman. I was pretty young. I was serving one of the smaller dioceses in the church.

Once the voting began, did you think about withdrawing because of the tension your election might create?
No. If you say yes to being nominated, you are saying yes to the movement of the Spirit.

The response to your election has been described as "wan" on the archbishop's part and almost hostile from other quarters. One pastor said you would not be welcome in his diocese. What do you make of these reactions?
They are quite predictable. There are three dioceses in this country that don't ordain women. No one expects these bishops to respond any differently. I can understand that my presence among the rest of the primates is going to challenge some of them, and that it might make the archbishop of Canterbury's job harder.

Will you be the only woman sitting at that global table of primates?
Yes. But I've spent most of my adult life as a woman in occupations that are primarily male-dominated. It's where I've always functioned.

In your homily at the closing session of the General Convention, you said, "We children can continue to squabble over the inheritance or claim our name and heritage as God's beloved." Did you have your critics in mind?
That wasn't in my consciousness as I wrote it. I was trying to address the challenges of the convention and what people would face when they got home.

And what were those challenges?
We had just finished wrestling with our responses to the Windsor Report. It had been a challenging road. We did the best we could have done at this point in our history. We have to all be willing to stretch, especially with people who are the most challenging.

How far you can stretch?
We're all human beings. We all have our limits. I don't know what mine are.

Is a schism or break in the Anglican Communion the worst thing that could happen during your nine-year tenure?
I think that the worst thing that could happen would be for the church to forget why it's here, to forget our mission. That mission looks different in different places. We can work at healing the world around us, at transforming the communities in which we live -- or we can spend our time arguing.

As presiding bishop, will you need to set aside your personal convictions on gay rights for the greater good of the church?
That is a piece of who I am. I am not going to set that aside. It is a piece of my vocation.

12 comments:

RMF said...

Very good. The more I read and hear (+)+Katherine's remarks the more I respect her and believe that she is the right person at the right time.

To those who say that she has only been "ordained" 12 odd years, I point you to the fact that she has been ordained much longer, as in our Church the ministry of the laity is celebrated and held up.

Coming from the laity as she has is all the more reason to celebrate because it is a clear signal of her gifts and calling.

" 'Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?” So the last will be first, and the first will be last.’ "

Hiram said...

From the article:
"Is a schism or break in the Anglican Communion the worst thing that could happen during your nine-year tenure?"

Bp Jefferts Schori:
"I think that the worst thing that could happen would be for the church to forget why it's here, to forget our mission. That mission looks different in different places. We can work at healing the world around us, at transforming the communities in which we live -- or we can spend our time arguing."

A major part of what we are arguing about is what the mission of the Christian church is -- is it to make this earthly life better, so that the Church is a social service agency with ceremonies and a political lobbying wing? Or is is to preach Christ as the only Lord and Savior, whose mercy and grace can transform hearts and lives through the power of the Holy Spirit -- so that those whose hearts are changed will praise God both in the liturgy and in daily life?

The PB-elect seems to think it is the former. Many of us believe it to be the latter.

And the PB-elect also sounds very like one who is gnostic in her basic convictions -- not a creedal, Trinitarian, Christian. She will not be able to lead the Episcopal Church into wholeness, health, and mission -- not even the truncated mission she thinks the Church should have.

Lorian said...

Hiram, do you recall that Jesus spent most of his ministry serving the poor, the weak, the disabled, the oppressed, the outcast? Isn't his example of how to live life and serve God in our neighbor a good indication of what he would expect from the church?

John Gibson said...

Hiram, in order to change hearts and minds, you first have to get people to listen to you and you don't do that by starting out telling them they're "broken", "defective", "not in accord with God's plan", or intrinsically sinful. Trying to equate human sexuality with plumbing isn't a good start, either.

Basically, when a RW Christian opens his or her mouth, I close my ears. I don't WANT to be in communion with them.

RMF said...

Good point, john.

Peace

Hiram said...

Lorian, I said, "those whose hearts are changed will praise God both in the liturgy and in daily life." That includes relief to the poor and all manner of charitable deeds and efforts to change society so that it mirrors the values of the Lord Jesus. I object not to efforts to help those in need, but to the idea that Christian ministry is solely directed to life here and now.

It was the Wesleys, firm believers in repentance and faith in the crucified Lord Jesus and in holiness of life, who did so much to instigate societal efforts to relieve the poor and to change the customs and laws of England. It was a Bible-believing member of Parliament who made it his life's work to overturn slavery in the British Empire.

John, I am broken in heart and mind, and I am intrinsically sinful. Apart from the Lord Jesus' death for me, and the mercy of the Father in forgiving me, and his grace in changing me to be more like his Son, I have no hope.

The "bad news" of the Gospel, that we are sinful, is seldom the place to start -- but it is a part of the apostolic message, echoing what Jesus preached: "The Kingdom of Heaven is near, REPENT and believe the Gospel."

Let me ask you a question: if somehow (and I can not imagine how) you were convinced that same-sex sexual activity is against what Jesus taught as his Father's plan for human sexuality, would you give up such activity, or would you give up Jesus?

John Gibson said...

"John, I am broken in heart and mind, and I am intrinsically sinful."

Hiram, I have sinned too, but not on account of my sexual orientation. I'm sorry if you're broken in heart and mind; fortunately, I'm not.

And I don't answer ridiculous hypotheticals.

Hiram said...

John, if Jesus were not the great physician, being broken in heart and mind would be a tragedy. Since he is, I am being healed, day by day, by his mercy, grace, and power.

As for hypothetical questions -- perhaps someday it will not be a hypothetical question for you, and one not placed by me.

Returning to the original topic -- I suspect that Bp Jefferts Schori will have her hands full. She may indeed have many years of ministry in her background, and not just the 12 years of her ordained life -- but I do not think her experience will be sufficient to deal with all she will face. In addition, I would venture to guess that nearly all her ordained ministry has been in the context of those who shared her basic worldview. She is going to be dealing with those both at home and abroad who have a different perspective on the world, and especially on who God is and how we know, and she will be in for some suprises.

inked said...

I do have to question how the PB-elect would answer Jesus' question, "Who do (you) say I am?"

Is a Petrine answer out of vogue because Peter committed the sin of being male? Or is it out of vogue because Jesus in not THE way, THE truth and THE life ?

I am sure the secular news partakers have no idea of her position on that matter. I don't and I have followed her statements assiduously.

I do know that the most important thing in her life is the Millenial Development UN program, then gays, then flying airplanes, then squids and clams, and I think she has a family, but I'm not sure about pets or Jesus.

She seems to like archheresiarch retired (but voluble) +Spong. Does he fulfill the role of Jesus for this PB? I have to doubt it because she mention the Cross and got confused about birthing and adopting - that much I know.

She likes to run. She may like rabbits. She hasn't been a rector in charge of a parish but she's got a diocese and now a national (somehow) religious organization that once was Christian but now is mostly political.

Reckon the confusions are gonna multiply like rabbits and give birth to a new schismatic "church"?

I'm betting on the latter through the confusions generated by all the former. Time will tell.

John Gibson said...

"Since he is, I am being healed, day by day, by his mercy, grace, and power."

I'm glad to hear it. You might ask Him to work on your inflexible attitude about people who do not share your sexual orientation while you're at it.


"perhaps someday it will not be a hypothetical question for you, and one not placed by me."

Or perhaps not. One thing I never do is try to assume that God will one day ask questions I would like to ask myself. Try it sometime.

Hiram said...

John, my atitude is "inflexible" because Scripture forbids same-sex sexual activity.

I also am inflexible about Jesus as the only way to the Father, our need as sinful human beings to be forgiven and sanctified, the power of the Cross and resurrection to change hearts and lives, and a few other things. There is a degree of native stubborness, I must admit -- but there is also the reality that Christianity is a faith with content and that God has revealed his will through the apostles and prophets in Scripture.

That is one of the reasons I am very concerned with Bp Jefferts Schori, who seems to view Christianity as very flexible.

And, while I am not sure what questions the Lord Jesus will ask of you, it is very common in spiritual growth to confront anything in your life which has become an idol or threatens to be -- so I expect that you will face choices between Jesus and something else.

John Gibson said...

"John, my atitude is "inflexible" because Scripture forbids same-sex sexual activity."

Hiram, if you are inflexible about everything forbidden in Scripture, remind me not to accept any dinner invitations to your house; I'm glad I'm not your wife, and I hope to heaven you don't like football.

What you are inflexible about is your bad case of the "icks" over the way I and people like me have sex. Well. Get over it. The way you have sex isn't anything I want to contemplate on a full stomach either.