Thursday, March 18, 2010

News and commentary round-up on consents to the election of Mary Glasspool

Let's start with ... which ran this headline:

Episcopal Church confirms first openly lesbian bishop
The Episcopal Church confirmed its first openly lesbian bishop on Wednesday, six years after its first openly gay bishop took office.

"I am profoundly grateful for the many people ... who have given their prayers, love, and support during this time of discernment," Bishop-elect Mary Douglas Glasspool said after learning she'd won support from the majority of her church's standing committees and diocesan bishops.
The post had received 13 comments when I checked the site, promoting me to add #14:

As an Episcopal priest in the Diocese of Los Angeles who voted for Mary Glasspool and looks forward with great joy to her consecration and the work we will do together here, I wanted to quickly comment and note that while we rejoice in our new bishop we recognize that there remains within our larger Christian family a broad diversity of perspectives on human sexuality in general and homosexuality in specific.

If there are those who genuinely want to understand how the Episcopal Church has come to embrace the full inclusion of gay and lesbian people in our life and work, I commend to them a document called "To Set Our Hope on Christ" - available online line or through our national church offices. Good people of deep faith my end up disagreeing with us about our conclusions, but I believe it is fair to ask for respect for our process ... as we rejoice in this step forward as a church that embraces all people equally as members of God's human family.

Other news reports included:

The Guardian (UK)
Los Angeles Times
Episcopal News Service
New York Times

Commentary on the blogs lined up along "usual suspect lines:"

Mark Harris on PRELUDIUM:
The reason to celebrate, dear friends, is that the Church in all its bumbling ways, elected someone bishop who is faithful, talented and loves people in and out of the Church. The electors and those giving consent saw past the idols and saw the reality and they were not stopped by the idols at the door.
Scott Gunn on Seven Whole Days:

If one is going to object to the ordination of GLBT persons, the basis must be on grounds other than a (fictitious) fixed tradition. Any casual reading of church history reveals a slow-moving stream in which the waters of tradition are constantly refreshed. The essentials of the faith that we teach (e.g. Christ’s resurrection or the power of the Holy Spirit) ought not to change, but the church has constantly and slowly revised its teaching on any number of second-order matters.
Elizabeth Kaeton on Telling Secrets:
And Bishop Sutton from The Diocese of Maryland:
Today is a great day for the cause of justice and the ministry of reconciliation in The Episcopal Church. We have received word from the Presiding Bishop’s Office that the consent process has been completed for the election of the Rev. Canon Mary Douglas Glasspool as Bishop Suffragan in the Diocese of Los Angeles.

I rejoice that a majority of Bishops and Standing Committees have seen in Canon Glasspool what we have experienced in the Diocese of Maryland: that she is an exceptionally gifted pastor, administrator and spiritually-centered leader who will prove to be an outstanding member of the House of Bishops. While I know that many of our brothers and sisters cannot rejoice at the news of her election as a matter of conscience – seeing it as a moral issue and not a ‘rights’ issue – I do pray that the whole Church will be open to the Spirit’s guidance as we all move forward together in light of this historic event. I believe that the time is now for us to remove old barriers and recommit ourselves to welcoming all of our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Faithfully yours,
The Rt. Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton
Bishop of Maryland
And then there was the "other side of the aisle:"

Kendall Harmon on Titusonenine:
I am saddened but not surprised by today’s news. This decision represents not simply a change in doctrine, nor a single change in practice, but an established pattern of common life. It is contrary to the teaching of Holy Scripture and the mind of the church catholic.

Since the Archbishop of Canterbury said this choice raises “very serious questions…for the Episcopal Church and its place in the Anglican Communion” one would have hoped that at least the bishops would have waited until they were gathered at their upcoming House of Bishops meeting to discern prayerfully their response together. They instead sought to embrace a way of life which the church through the Bible has always understood to be forbidden. Therefore the tragic damage the Episcopal Church has recently caused the third largest Christian family in the world will continue in the future, hurting our collective witness and grieving the heart of God.
[Bless his heart. I can never read Kendall on these issues and not remember standing next to him in Minneapolis on a live-CNN feed with Susan Candiotti asking the questions -- including this one to Kendall: "Canon Harmon, what exactly is it about homosexuality that is going to split the church?"

Kendall rose to the occasion by reaching deep-into-his-canon-theologian-resources and responding: "Homosexuality is like trying to put milk in a car. It just doesn't work."

And I can still see Susan Candiotti's face -- and it looked like "Huh?????"]

Moving on, Lambeth Palace was "not amused" -- in a statement emailed on March 18th:
It is regrettable that the appeals from Anglican Communion bodies for continuing gracious restraint have not been heeded. Following the Los Angeles election in December the Archbishop made clear that the outcome of the consent process would have important implications for the Communion. The Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion reiterated these concerns in its December resolution which called for the existing moratoria to be upheld. Further consultation will now take place about the implications and consequences of this decision.

And the AAC -- David Anderson's bunch -- sent this out (also by email):
"What this means is the majority of The Episcopal Church's leaders - down to the diocesan level throughout America - are exercising no restraint as requested by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the primates of the Anglican Communion. Despite pleas to the contrary, they have given their consent for a partnered lesbian to become a bishop, not just for Los Angeles, but for the whole church. Unfortunately, this comes as no surprise because The Episcopal Church, at its General Convention this summer, voted in favor of allowing dioceses to determine whether they will conduct same sex blessings using whatever rites they deem appropriate. Even if The Episcopal Church should eventually decide to sign an Anglican Covenant, it has shown time and time again that it will not abide by traditional Christian and Anglican Communion teaching on marriage and sexuality."
But here's my favorite. It came via email from a colleague who reads the comments over at Stand Firm ... something I gave up for Lent. Here's what someone calling themselves "The Beat" had to say
"Lord have mercy. The deed is done. Macbeth has killed the king. Anakim has gone over to the dark side. The 30 pieces of silver have exchanged hands. Sayid has murdered Gorgen.
[And we're the ones that are supposed to be the Drama Queens!]

Finally, on this more positive note, I want to share this comment on Facebook:
i'm from cleveland, tn and just got off the phone with a friend in greenville, tn. these victories don't just build hope for us in the south; they also remind us that soon, the wave of acceptance will hit us too!
And let all God's people say: AMEN!


uffda51 said...

“They instead sought to embrace a way of life which the church through the Bible has always understood to be forbidden.”

The multitude of things that the Bible did not understand include democracy, airplanes, nuclear weapons, relativity, DNA, quasars, tectonic plates, and on and on. More to the point, the Bible does not understand phenotype changes caused by epigenetics. One would think that the educated people on the other side of the aisle would.

As Father Greg Boyle says in his new book, Tattoos on the Heart, we must “obliterate the notion that there is a “them” who should exist outside of our circle of kinship.”


Great points! (I encourage you to offer that feedback over at Titusonenine ... I've been "moderated" out of being able to comment over there or I'd post it myself!)

uffda51 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
uffda51 said...

"Continuing gracious constraint." I wonder how long this period of gracious constraint should continue? I'm guessing the contrained would have a different answer than those doing the constraining.

FB in SC (Upper/Higher, that is) said...

Well, of course, there are varieties of Queens. And, God loves everybody - in small dark rooms or not! 'Love Lifted Me' and I've been serving my Lord, and the Episcopal Church I signed up for 3 1/2 decades, so far. The embrace of Christ will only grow and grow.

John said...

Re; Stand Firm: Mercy Beulah, Where are my smelling salts? Help me to the faintin' couch, I feel a spell comin' on.

How are we supposed to react to the other side of the aisle when they give us histrionics and overplayed drama? *sigh* I guess I'll just stick with compassion. If the Episcopal Church had practiced and stuck with this much lauded idea of "gracious restraint" back in the late 1970s, we still today would not have female clergy.

It's time FOR THE CHURCH to include ALL the baptized. (Written from the eastern edge of the Dio. of Fort Worth.)