Friday, March 16, 2007

"Losing It"

Lots being written on the failure of Mark Lawrence+ to receive the necessary consents to his election in South Carolina. The best of the bunch, for my money, is this reflection by Elizabeth Kaeton entitled "Losing It" posted today on her blog "Telling Secrets."

Read it all here ... but here's an excerpt:

That is not “voting on tea leaves,” as has been suggested. Given the current climate of his present home diocese of San Joaquin, which has already voted to remove itself from TEC, and the vigorously adversarial theological climate of South Carolina, not to mention the stridently conservative theology of Mark Lawrence, these are legitimate concerns.And, voting not to consent is my right. It’s the same right the various deputies and bishops had when they voted not to consent to the election of V. Gene Robinson as duly elected bishop of New Hampshire. Those who voted not to consent simply did not have the majority. That's just the way the system works.

As I tell my Vestry or the members of various committees before we vote on an important issue, if your vote is not in the majority, it is not because your opinion or position is not valued or respected or that you were not "heard." It just happens that yours is the minoriy opinion.It’s the polity and procedure of The Episcopal Church. It’s the same system of “checks and balances” that are the genius of our system of Government. That’s a good political term. In the church, I prefer to call it “radical, mutual interdependence.”

The rendering as “null and void” of the election of Mark Lawrence says more about the state of the diocese of South Carolina and the state of the church and the World Wide Anglican Communion than it does about anything – or anyone – else. We’ll all be better off the sooner we start taking responsibility for our own actions and the results thereof.

Here’s the message I get loud and clear: Mark Lawrence has not just lost the episcopacy. We are losing it - and I'm not talking about those zealous Evangelicals who write and comment on conservative, orthodox, neo-Puritan blogs.We are losing our sense of the gracious, generous Spirit of Anglican Accommodation.

We are losing our minds – the “mind of Christ” – which is not about ‘group think’ but about holding in tension the paradox and mystery of the reality of two very different truths.We are losing our sense of unity in Christ, instead clinging frantically to the false god of uniformity under a particular charismatic bishop - either at home or in a foreign curia.We are losing our sense of our radical, mutual interdependence in Christ which is being exchanged for the false security of "compliance" and "submission" to various primatial "reports" and "communiques."

Mark Lawrence is not the only one who has lost. South Carolina is not the only diocese which has lost. We are all - each and every one of us - losing something less tangible, but far more valuable.We are in schism. Of this, there can no longer be any doubt.

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