Saturday, July 01, 2006

She Will Not Be Alone

A great piece just posted to Witness Magazine by Barbara C. Harris (of first-woman-bishop-in-the-Anglican Communion fame). Read it here and then bookmark The Witness as the go-to place for must read articles on faith and conscience since 1917.

[Friday, June 30, 2006 ] The conventional wisdom was that a "compromise" person, palatable to both sides of the church and the rest of the Anglican Communion, would be chosen in the hope that we might "get on with it" -- whatever "it" is.

The election of the Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori as 26th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church is momentous for several reasons -- not the least of which is that many General Convention deputies, visitors and bishops themselves did not believe the House of Bishops had the moral courage to choose the obviously superior nominee. The conventional wisdom was that a "compromise" person, palatable to both sides of the church and the rest of the Anglican Communion, would be chosen in the hope that we might "get on with it" -- whatever "it" is.

It has been reported that a few retired conservative bishops (as many as nine) voted for her to demonstrate the split in the American church, but that can be documented only by those who would have concocted such a self-defeating scheme. That Bishop Jefferts Schori becomes the first known woman primate in the history of the Anglican Communion sends positive as well as negative shock waves around the world.

The hope that this self-assured, intelligent, poised and compassionate woman -- one might even say regal in bearing -- brings more than just a passive commitment to full inclusion of all of God's people in the life of church and society and an equal commitment to reconciliation bodes well. Similarly, her election brings a new sense of belonging to the many voiceless women throughout the Communion who can see in her not only an icon but also an advocate. But as in most situations, not all is sweetness and light.

Even as many of us embraced and celebrated Bishop Jefferts Schori's election in those early moments at Trinity Church, Columbus (where we were, by rule and custom, to be sequestered until the House of Deputies could be notified by two representatives of the House of Bishops and could vote to concur in the election) the whining, dissident so-called " traditionalists" were out the front door and on their cell phones conveying the balloting results to their constituents. One phone call recipient was overheard in the men's room back at the convention center to say: "the bitch got it."

Many of us lamented that on the final day of General Convention Bishop Katharine vocally supported acceptance of Resolution B033 which, in effect, became a moratorium on consent to the election of a gay or lesbian person in a same-sex relationship (despite the numbers of which we already are aware) and what this has said to our GLBT brothers and sisters.

Whether she was pressured to do so remains an open question. Even before she spoke, the House of Bishops was told that passage of the resolution was the price of the "ticket" to the Lambeth tea party. It would have been more honest for Presiding Bishop Griswold to have said this up front and saved us the time and the torture of pointless discussion, amendments and substitues. Similarly, her appearance in the House of Deputies -- which caused a deputy who had approached the microphone to speak against the resolution to instead dissolve in tears and urge its passage -- threw that chamber into confusion and resulted in its passage there. What remains to be seen in the church at home and beyond is how Presiding Bishop-elect Jefferts Schori will be received and treated.

The diminutive bishop of Fort Worth immediately appealed to Canterbury, the primates, the Panel of Reference and whoever else would listen for "alternative primatial oversight," whatever the hell that means, since, given our polity, dioceses are the recipients of precious little "primatial oversight" at best and Fort Worth is one of three dioceses that consistently have ignored the Canons regarding ordination and refuses to ordain women.

Some Primates, egged on by disaffected U.S. bishops who fomented strife and dissention in 2003 over the election, consent and consecration of Bishop V. Gene Robinson and who have continued to work for a church or denomination of their own that would be recognized by Cantebury and other provinces of the Communion, and especially those from Provinces that do not ordain or recognize the orders of women, will probably be demeaning, disrepectful of, or openly hostile toward her.

Presiding Bishop-elect Jefferts Schori can take it, but she will not be alone. Women bishops of the Episcopal Church have pledged that she will never be unescorted, unprotected and unsupported wherever she goes in the Anglican Communion and in the ecumenical or interfaithcommunity.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Quote: "One phone call recipient was overheard in the men's room back at the convention center to say: "the bitch got it.""

I hope that the writer has absolute totally uncontravertable proof of this. There have been so many allegations of misconduct against those on the conservative side (just how many bullets did those vests stop again?) that without this unbreakable proof the liberal side is totally morally bankrupt.

And Susan, since you have chosen to reproduce this claim here, I expect as a matter of urgency that you will provide for us to assess the proof that the original writer provided that made it possible for you to pass on the post. Without it you can rightly be accuse of spreading slander and your credibility will be totally compromised.

As you will, of course, have sought out this proof before publishing I will expect it to be online immediately.

inked said...

Specious speculation and pretense. All because the sin is committed - not recognizing the justice and equality agenda that have replaced the Faith. Shame! Shame! and thrice shame on Bp Harris. But, then again, her comments about Africans holding to the faith in Lambeth 98 were that they evinced the mindset of their former colonial masters. No true. They evinced and testified to the Mind of the Master. This piece says volumes about the nature of the current Beast called ECUSA, I fear. Inclusivity only goes as far as the "justice" agenda. How the PB elect can spend interviews for long time peiods without mentioning Jesus as Lord or Saviour is troubling to Christians, but that Millenial Development thang seems pretty important. More important than anything except the gay agenda, possibly. If she doesn't make Lambeth 2008, there have been former female ambassadors to the UN - formerly a political posting but maybe adequate for the current ECUSA diversely fractured middle?

John Gibson said...

"I hope that the writer has absolute totally uncontravertable proof of this. There have been so many allegations of misconduct against those on the conservative side "


And they all seem so plausible, too; particularly the "bitch" remark.!

Anonymous said...

I have not seen anything that could be described as 'proof' on this or the linked website, so can only conclude that there is none.

"Seeming plausible" is not enough when we are people of integrity.

Either the evidence is produced (as I hope it can be) or this cause is irreparably damaged. There is no other alternatives.

I hope you can provide it soon Susan, as you in particular are being tarred by this brush.

John Gibson said...

Personally, I don't much care about the opinions of someone who is too cowardly even to reveal his or her name.

As for the remark, it's a case of a shoe clearly fitting.

Jeff Martinhauk said...

Look -

Who cares about "proof" that somebody called her a bitch? I'm sure somebody called me an asshole once (at least once) too but I don't require proof of it to know its true.

What's more important is this: it is an undisputable fact that rather than wait, process information, absorb and discuss the impact, the Bishop of Ft Worth wasted absolutely no time in appealing for "alternative primatial oversight" to everybody.

It is clear that at least we have a clear understanding of who the Bishop of Ft. Worth is. A misogynst. A scared one at that, with no sense of community, with no sense of relational process.

That is the real issue here. Convervatives don't get relationship. They don't get the value of putting relational identity over rules and regulations. That is the essence of the new covenant- the new covenant of the Gospel. The rules and regulations are the old covenant, the "transactional" covenant. Jesus and Paul clearly tell us that ain't how God works.

Before folks start whining that we've left the rest of the communion behind and ignored our relationship with them, it just isn't true. We have instead made a choice that we can't be true to that relationship if it means ignoring and/or neglecting the relationship we have with all of the baptized within our own church.

j

John Gibson said...

"What's more important is this: it is an undisputable fact that rather than wait, process information, absorb and discuss the impact, the Bishop of Ft Worth wasted absolutely no time in appealing for "alternative primatial oversight" to everybody."

Waited? None of them waited for anything. Their minds were made up before the Convention was even gavelled to order.

Anonymous said...

So Susan there is no proof -- I have waited a couple of days to give you ample time to post it.

So you have no integrity but will defame others as and when it suits you without any conscience.

Is this really the way you want to be known? Does it really reflect well on your cause?

(John, you need something more than my anonymity to justify slander.)

John Gibson said...

Anon., I know from your hiding that you're a coward. I know from your posts you're an ignorant bigot and I want nothing to do with you.

revsusan said...

for anonymous ... apologies for not getting back to you sooner on your "proof" issue ... I've been rather busy being a parish priest for the last few days and mostly away from the computer.

That said, the quote it question is from a piece published by Witness Magazine in an article written by Bishop Harris. I suggest you inquire through those channels for verification. I'm happy to provide "proof" for quotes of my own but when sharing articles published elsewhere it seems only appropriate that such inquiries be directed to the publishing entity and/or the author of the piece.

Have a nice day!

Jeff Martinhauk said...

John - That's my point entirely. There was not a clear and rational decision made based on theological argument; it was a political decision made based on a strategic course plotted well in advance.

Anonymous -

What "proof" are you looking for? A video tape in a men's room of a bishop in a stall sitting on a toilet with a cell phone pressed to his ear? Ridiculous.

Grow up. Who cares.

Anonymous said...

Susan,

Thank you so much for your belated response. I can understand busy-ness so I waited a good while before my last post.

You cannot just say "look at the original source". You have chosen to put this piece on YOUR blog so you must take responsibility for it. If it wasn't posted here, I wouldn't be asking you.

For the record, I found no proof on the original website - or even names so that the veracity could be checked (which may not be suitable for publication, but which someone of your standing would be able to assure us you have checked and found in order). I assumed (obviously falsely) that you would not spread false witness so would have made suitable inquiries before posting.

I must say I am deeply saddened by this incident.

John Gibson said...

"I must say I am deeply saddened by this incident."

Aren't you just!

I have to say, you do crocodile tears really, really well. I can see the pain just fairly gushing from your every word.

Grow up.

She quoted directly from a published article. If you've got questions about Bishop Harris' sources, Email her. I dare you.

Anonymous said...

John - that was stating the obvious!!

But my point is that Susan must also take responsibility for what she CHOOSES to put on this site. Nothing compelled her to do it.