Sunday, July 12, 2009
But what about the bishops?
So there's finally "news" from Anaheim: [ENS] The House of Deputies by more than a 2-1 margin adopted a resolution that declares the ordination process of the Episcopal Church open to all individuals while expressing its ongoing commitment to the Anglican Communion.
You can read the rest here ... in the Episcopal News Service online ... but basically the resolution:
* reaffirms the continued participation of the Episcopal Church in the Anglican Communion;
* encourages dioceses, congregations and members to be involved in work throughout the communion;
* reaffirms the Episcopal Church's financial support of the Anglican Communion;
* acknowledges that the Listening Process with gay and lesbian people has resulted in General Convention's recognition that same-sex relationships represent fidelity and holy love;
* recognizes that gays and lesbians in such same-sex relationships have exercised ministry in the church;
* acknowledges that God has called and may call any individual in the church to any ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church, in accordance with the discernment process set forth in the Constitution and Canons of the church; and * acknowledges that the Anglican Communion is not of one mind on these matters.
The ENS headline was "Deputies support fully inclusive ordination process" ... the Integrity press release was "Episcopal Church Overwhelmingly Overrides Ban on Gay Bishops." However you put it, D025 is a resolution that moves us beyond B033 and forward in mission.
Or it will after it gets through the House of Bishops.
I know, I know ... the bishops aren't going to do anything. They've already decided to block anything that comes through on any of "these issues." They've drunk the Lambeth Kool Aid. We should just give up and go home. In fact, it was a waste of time to bother to come in the first place. Nothing is going to happen. The bishops aren't going to let it.
I appreciate the emails. Really I do. And the blog comments. They help me know that someone out there is actually reading all this stuff.
But here's the deal: I think you're wrong. And it's not because Integrity and our allies have some secret plan, strategy, agenda or weapon.
It's because I have more faith in our bishops than that. I have more faith in the church than that. And I certainly have more faith in the Holy Spirit than that. And the dramatic margin of support for this resolution in the House of Deputies today is "Exhibit A."
Deputies from Fort Worth AND San Joaquin spoke in favor of it. After the vote I heard from deputies from both San Diego and Long Island that deputations that have previously been split were unanimous -- in support. The tone and the timbre of the debate was strong, clear and honest. All a far cry from 2006 and the manipulation and manuevering that resulted in votes for B033.
Today the House of Deputies voted for mission. They voted to tell the truth about where we are as the Episcopal Church in 2009 and to say -- by a more than 2-to-1 margin -- that the differences that challenge will not divide us as we work together as agents of God's love, compassion and justice.
Are we "claiming victory?" Heaven's no. Remember the title of this blog: An Inch At A Time. There are miles to go before we rest, but today the House of Deputies DID reclaim an inch of the planet toward that goal of making the Garden of Eden grow green again ... and that is something to rejoice and be glad in.
And then get back to work on the inch ahead tomorrow. And the next day. And the next.
And what about the bishops? At the end of the day -- purple shirts and Lambeth Kool Aid notwithstanding -- I believe in my heart of hearts that they're just as ready to get on with the mission of the church as the rest of us are -- as the Deputies were -- as the Holy Spirit is.
And if we can remind them of that -- keep in front of them the promise of a church committed to both truth and unity and focused on mission and ministry instead of division and drama -- well then maybe, just maybe, we can get a couple of inches of the garden growing green in the House of Bishops before we leave Anaheim.
It's certainly worth a try, doncha think?