Matthew Davies offers a very thorough overview in his ENS feature today ... and The Chicago Consultation also issued a thoughtful statement today.
Mark Harris posted a follow-up to yesterday's flurry entitled "Cleaning Out the Stalls" on PRELUDIUM and Elizabeth Kaeton wonders "This is News?" on "Telling Secrets."
And if you want to find out what the "other side of the aisle" is saying, well ... those you can go find yourselves. Suffice to say, it's the usual comments by the usual suspects.
ANYWAY, what I want to write about today is the question I've gotten from a variety of sources that I think begs an answer. The question -- in several slightly different iterations -- goes something like this:
How is what these bishops and their buddies are doing any different than what Integrity does to influence General Convention and advance its inclusion agenda?
The answer brings me to the title of this post: It's as different as "Apples and Oranges."
And to unpack that I'm going to turn to the wisdom of my colleague (the Reverend Dr. Ruth Meyers) who answered a similar question on a listserve earlier today and has given me permission to share her response here to the comment, "Just because something is organized does not make it 'subversive'." Ruth writes:
I agree, just because something is organized doesn't make it subversive. Here is the part that seems subversive to me (from the leaked emails, as posted by the Washington Blade):
1) The CO priest will request of +SC, as a CP Bishop, a 'visitation',
2) the purpose of which is to prevent his parishioners from concluding that the only route for them is joining ACNA (which will be happening in CO soon) because their Diocesan is not foregrounding his covenant commitments and indeed has ordained an openly homosexual priest, etc, but also has said he means to create space for others' views, etc;
3) +SC will phone +O'Neil and ask that this request be honored and seek to persuade him of its importance,
4) +SC will ask +Salmon to visit, and will indicate to +CO that +Chane is using Salmon in this way in DC ...
"Importantly, +SC reminded us that he does not want to get into a quid pro quo situation that, having implemented something like this, the PB makes sure he reciprocates when SSBs pass in General Convention and he is forced to let a proponent of the same do a visitation in SC. Hence, using +Salmon."
As I understand the Delegated Episcopal Parish Oversight (DEPO) plan (commended by the 2006 General Convention in A163), the first step for a parish disagreeing with their bishop is to seek reconciliation through direct conversation. If reconciliation does not occur, then the rector and vestry may request delegated episcopal pastoral oversight, and in that case, the diocesan bishop appoints another bishop to provide that oversight. [source]
What feels subversive to me in the Communion Partners plan (as outlined in the email correspondence) are the following elements:
1) The request from the Colorado priest to the Bishop of South Carolina, rather than to his own bishop or through an appeal to the provincial leadership.
2) The efforts to keep the Bishop of South Carolina on the edges, delegating the visit to the retired bishop of South Carolina, so that the diocesan will not be forced to accept a similar visitation.
Thanks, Ruth! It "feels subversive" because ... IT IS! The good-faith offer to provide alternative pastoral oversight in order to give elbow room to thelogical minorities to continue to find a a place in this beloved church of ours is being turned into a blunt instrument to pry parishes out of their dioceses -- undermining the historic polity and unity of the Episcopal Church toward the end of "purifying" it from those who would include all the baptized equally in the Body of Christ.
And WE'RE the ones they call revisionists.
Here's the "apples and oranges" part, boys and girls: We are "out" about what we do. We lobby bishops. We caucus with deputies. We show up. We create educational resources to change hearts and minds. We tell our stories. We show up. We organize. We build common cause with other justice allies. We show up. We publish our platform. We write resolutions. We work to get them through committee. And then we work to pass them on the floor. And we keep showing up.
It's all out in the open, kids. We haven't got any secret agenda. Honest to Pete.
It's the full inclusion of all the baptized in all the sacraments of the church.
And we're going to keep showing up until we get there.
That's something you can bet both your apples AND your oranges on.