Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Unsolicited Advice

The Living Church is reporting that "In a statement released on May 30, Archbishop Henry Orombi of Uganda stated that as Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams had extended invitations to “all the American bishops who consented to, participated in, and have continued to support the consecration” of Bishop V. Gene Robinson in New Hampshire, the Church of Uganda would honor the commitment it made last December and not attend."

Well there you have it ... they won't come if we come. Excluding the Bishop of New Hampshire isn't enough for these guys ... they're after "the whole enchilada." Faced with such a dilemma, what's an Archbishop of Canterbury to do?

Granted, His Grace has not asked for my advice but here it is:

When my boys were small and it was birthday party time we had some rules in our house about how we made out the invitation list. Inviting two or three friends over for a sleepover was one option. Inviting the whole class for a pool party was the other. Inviting everybody except the boy nobody else wanted to play with during recess or the girl who creeped you out was not an option. And no good trying the “If Timmy comes then John and Jason won’t!” argument. We invited everybody – and if someone chose not to show up because someone else was included then that was their choice. We’d miss them – but the party would go on!

So I’m wondering today if the rules that served me well with my small boys wouldn’t serve the Archbishop of Canterbury just well in dealing with bishops behaving like small boys.

Just wondering.


Jeff Martinhauk said...

But if he invites them all then he might get their cooties!



PseudoPiskie said...

As I've said on my blog and elsewhere - ++Rowan should prepare the eucharist and invite all. Those who partake will be part of the Anglican Communion. Those who don't won't. Seems simple to me.

Anonymous said...

Given the design of the next Lambeth Conference, it will probably have as much to offer the church as your birthday party.

Gerti said...

I hope the Archbishop of Canterbury reads your blog!

bruno said...

wouldn't it be wonderful if we only had enough faith to trust that, as we were promised, the spirit would work as she will, and all things shall be well. But we have such a lack of faith, that we must work against revelation and maintain the "safe" status quo and protect God,,,, from what?
Now the ex ABC puts his fingers in the pot!!
oh how the world turns,
millstones all around please
If the debate keeps going on like this, the message will be loud and clear, the gospel message is not for everybody,, only the circumcised.

Jim said...

Let's be fair here. Most small boys are much better behaved than ++Uganda and ++Nigeria. Boys do not expect the State to kill off their problems.


Alan said...

Does that mean you would invite CANA and AMiA bishops, whose consecration may be 'irregular' but is valid none-the-less?

Susan Russell said...

alan ... reasonable question!

Answer: No.

Rationale: The consecrations may be valid but their jurisdictions are not. To continue the "invite the whole class" metaphor I quess I figure "inviting the whole class" means inviting those actually in the CLASS ... not just those who say they are.

And +Rowan may have been pretty muddy about alot of this but he seems to be crystal clear on what a colleague of mine once called ordaining bishops act as extra-canonical ballistic missiles launched at other provinces. (Wish I could remember who said that ...???)

Suzer said...

I'm torn on this one, and I admit I don't know everything there is to know about the politics of inviting some bishops and not others, who was duly elected versus who was not, etc.

But even as a left-leaning, GLBT inclusive pew-sitter, I think ALL the bishops should be invited. While some may have problems with Minns, others have problems with Robinson. And we can't even agree as to whether the disagreements each side has with each bishop are valid or not.

I think it makes more sense to invite everyone. Then let the bishops decide if they will or will not come to the table. Sorry, it just seems fair to me, and I know many of my more liberal blog friends will probably vociferously disagree with me. Are we inclusive, or are we not? Really -- why exclude anyone? Maybe I'm missing something.

Susan Russell said...

suzer ... I hear you ... and ...

... when we're talking about "the councils of the church" (which Lambeth Conference, for all its "tea party" aspects is!) there is an important distinction between bishops with jurdisdiction and bishops external to Anglican Communion polity.

No one argues that +Gene is anything other than duly elected and consecrated. They just don't want him there because he's gay. (And the same folks arguing that his consecration isn't "valid" don't think women priests are "validly" ordained either!)

Martyn, on the other hand, was consecrated a bishop by the Archbishop of Nigeria and then "deployed" to a province that exists only in the vivid imaginations of the schismatics. If +Rowan were to open the Pandora's box of including him then he'd be looking expanding the Lambeth Conference to include every Anglican-splinter group bishop on the planet and there are bushels of them.

Bottom line: on this one +Rowan made the right call.

ellie m said...

"No one argues that +Gene is anything other than duly elected and consecrated. They just don't want him there because he's gay."

I don't really think that's accurate. While there may be the odd homophobic objection, for the majority of orthodox the problem isn't with gay clergy per se. They know that there are many out there already. The big problem with VGR is that he is a high-profile cleric who is also sexually involved with a person to whom he is not married. The same objection would be raised in the case of a male bishop living openly with a mistress. If the solution is to have gay marriage, then that should have come first, BEFORE the consecration of VGR.

As things stand now, there are absolutely no grounds to refuse consecration to a bishop with a mistress. If VGR gets to break the rules, then everybody does.

Susan Russell said...

ellie ... sorry: To compare +Gene & Mark's life-partnership to "a bishop living openly with his mistress" is "apples and oranges" again.

Now, +Gene is a divorced man and for some that is seen as a stumbling block to ordination and/or consecration. However, the General Convention took all that into consideration when his elected received the necessary consents and the consecration went forward.

Were +Rowan to have "disinvited" all DIVORCED (and remarried) bishops because their manner of life caused concern to some in the Communion at least he would have been consistent ... and that's not what he did.

And if you really think the reaction to +Gene's episcopacy includes only "the odd homophobic objection" then DO let me know ... I'll point you to some sites and forward you some of my email!

Anonymous said...

ellie ... sorry: To compare +Gene & Mark's life-partnership to "a bishop living openly with his mistress" is "apples and oranges" again.

How so?