... "my desk!"
AKA: Exercising "due dilegence" in response to the all-swine-flu-all-the-time news! (And yes, I wish I had stock in "Purell!" And yes, I'm still flying to Philadelphia tomorrow!)
Sister Joan Chittister famously said, "We are each called to go through life reclaiming the planet an inch at a time until the Garden of Eden grows green again." Reflecting on that journey -- a blog at a time -- is the focus of this site.
"I don't really understand how one man looks at another man and falls in love. The idea is alien to me. I don't really have to understand it, though; I know it happens, and I know homosexuals want to enjoy the same rights and privileges I enjoy. They're as American as I am, and as human as I am, so I don't see why they shouldn't enjoy marriage as much as I do." -- Steve Goble, Mansfield News Journal
So here's my question du jour: Can anyone -- in 100 words or less -- explain just HOW my marriage undermines the sanctity of yours? Not why you think homosexuality is a sin -- not what sexual acts creep you out -- not whether or not the Archbishop of Canterbury thinks marriage equality is a good idea.
I'm after the sanctity of marriage argument because -- frankly -- I'm a big FAN of the sanctity of marriage ... and figure the more examples of life-long, loving, commited in-sickness-and-health-til-death-do-we-part relationships we have around the stronger the fabric of our society will be.
So give it your best shot ... we're all ears. "How does my marriage undermine the sanctity of yours?" Ready, set ... write!
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.
Integrity applauds the “outing” of both the “Bishops’ Statement on the Polity of the Episcopal Church” and the email trail between the framers and signers of a document clearly designed to continue to undermine the mission and ministry of the Episcopal Church.
Though couched in ecclesiastical language, the statement is an entirely political document. It attempts to lay the foundation for an unprecedented power grab by anti-gay bishops who will assert that they are not bound by the Episcopal Church’s governing body: General Convention. These bishops seek to increase their own authority, while diminishing the role of the laity and clergy in the governance of the church.
“We have been given a look at ’the men behind the curtain’ manipulating a schism driven agenda while professing to work transparently for reconciliation”, said Integrity President Susan Russell.
“To quote one long-time ally’s response to these documents, ‘This is stunning. It is remarkable to think about the plotting that is going on. In many ways I am just too naïve.’”
“This statement – and the email trail leading up to its creation – should be required reading for all who will be making decisions in good faith at our upcoming General Convention,” said Russell. “We cannot afford to be naïve about the forces working to divide this church and distract it from its call to live out the gospel in the world. And we must not accept the false choice between unity and justice being presented by the very people working behind the scenes to create disunity and foment schism.”
The argument that dioceses are independent of the Episcopal Church is novel, and a creature of convenience. It seeks to camouflage the desire of anti-gay bishops and theologians to punish the Church for consecrating an openly gay bishop and permitting the blessing of same-sex relationships in some dioceses.
The authors of these emails profess to be loyal Episcopalians, but they openly express their hope that this statement will be used in litigation by individuals who have left the Episcopal Church to join forces with virulently anti-gay bishops in other parts of the world and are attempting to take the Church’s property with them.
A number of the bishops who have reportedly signed on to this statement are members of the "Communion Partners Bishops’ Network." When founded, this group pledged to work transparently and in cooperation with the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in attempting to reconcile those of differing theological views. These emails make clear that the group instead was working surreptitiously to undermine the Bishop of Colorado, and seeking to set up a system of episcopal oversight controlled entirely by the Communion Partners.
The work of reconciliation in the Anglican Communion was thoroughly compromised by a theologian and a bishop named in this correspondence who used their positions on important Communion-wide bodies to advance the agenda of the Communion Partners network. The Rev. Ephraim Radner, who is copied on these emails and whose name appears on the statement, helped draft the proposed Anglican Covenant. Bishop Gary Lilibridge, who the emails suggest offered advice on drafting the statement, was a member of the Communion’s Windsor Continuation Group.
Both bodies produced documents that create significant impediments to the full inclusion of LGBT Christians in the Church, while the proposed covenant removed obstacles to the inclusion of anti-gay churches, dioceses and parishes in the councils of the Communion.
The emails concerning the Diocese of Colorado make clear that this group will use the proposed Anglican Covenant as a tool for moving individual congregations out from under the authority of their diocesan bishops. This strategy can be employed not only in the Episcopal Church, but across the Anglican Communion.
"It is time for The Episcopal Church to "just say no" to the forces working to divide it and get on with bringing people into the work and witness of the gospel," concluded Russell. "Our Lord promised us that the truth will set us free. Our prayer is that knowing more now about the truth of what is going on behind the scenes of the Communion Partners Network will indeed set us free to get with the work of being the church in the world for ALL God's beloved human family."
For other background on this story see:
Thinking Anglicans: Communion Partners Forge Ahead
Mark Harris: Heads Up
Elizabeth Kaeton: Anglican Teabagging
The Washington Blade: Episcopal leaders look to enhance anti-gay schism
Times Online: Episcopal Email Conspiracy Unwrapped
Tobias Haller: BS from ACI
Call your Bishops..
Email your Deputies.
Give to the Anaheim Campaign
It's all our best guess, anyway.
It's called the mystery of faith for a reason:
Christ has died.
Christ is risen.
Christ will come again.
And Augustine's definition of theology that has stood the test of time is FAITH SEEKING UNDERSTANDING.
It's not PEOPLE WITH THE "REAL" UNDERSTANDING SEEKING WAYS TO MAKE SURE PEOPLE WITH OTHER UNDERSTANDINGS GET IT "RIGHT."
As I said on Friday, if the theory of substitutionary atonement works for you as a way of understanding the saving grace of of God in Christ Jesus then party on.
But the Good Friday News Flash is that there are people of faith whose faith have led them to OTHER understandings -- and that didn't start at EDS in the '70's.
Those understandings are as old as the 1st century and as new as yesterday. And for ANY of us to have the hubris to think that we -- in our finite, puny, striving-to-be-faithful-and-screwing-up-anyway, pick-ourselves-up-and-start-over-again selves -- have such sole possession of the Absolute Truth that if someone doesn't pass our theology quiz they don't get to pass "Go" and collect Eternal Life, well ... let's just say that bears no resemblance whatsoever to anything historically Anglican.
So here's my radical Easter Monday suggestion: What if we worked ... maybe just try it out for these next 50 Days of Easter ... to all become a little more Elizabethan in our Anglicanism?
What if we could take on the discipline of worrying less about what was going on in other "men's souls" (in a more gender-inclusive 21st century kind of way) and worried more about where the fruits of the Spirit were blooming in our own.
You remember them, don't you? Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control?
Happy Easter, everybody. All 50 Days of It. And may YOUR faith seeking understanding continue to give you the grace to walk in love as Christ loved us -- and gave himself for us to show us how to love one another!