Thursday, June 22, 2006

Reflections on the run ...

Anyone who reads this blog will know that yesterday was a bloody end to General Convention 2006 here in Columbus. After meetings all morning I am rushing to catch a plane to Atlanta where I will preach at the Pride Eucharist tomorrow night so any genuine reflection will have to wait a bit.

For now,

Pray for the church.

Read the Statement of Conscience by bishops dissenting from having B033 railroaded through the convention.

Read my rector, Ed Bacon's, reflections on the All Saints General Convention website.

Read "Jake's" reflection "Church Embraces Bigotry" on Father Jake Stops the World

And then pray for the church some more.


Anonymous said...

I am so confused. So what happens now?? If the Holy Spirit moved GC 2003 to elevate + Gene, then why do we need to have a moratorium??? A moratorium on following the leading of the Spirit????
God I am confused.

Anonymous said...

Ed Bacon, and others, say that the resolution singles out one group of people for discrimination. Hardly. It is about behavior: that is the issue no matter how much you would like to deflect the discussion. What about the gays who take the NT and wider biblical reference to abstain from sexual activity outside of marriage as God's call? There are many of them. We could say that their wisdom is being heard and followed (albeit tentatively). So maybe Bacon and other should say 'one group of gays' is being singled out. Well, yeah . . . .

Anonymous said...

If the elevation of the Bishop of New Hampshire was a move of the Spirit, how do we know the Spirit didn't move again on Wednesday? Who are we to question God's motives or methods? Besides, why is it only the leading of the Spirit when the vote is in your favor, and just "railroading" or politicking when the vote goes the other way? Maybe you should stop thinking that you have a monopoly on interpreting the will of God.

And yes, it is about behavior, and the Church and society in general "balance unity" and a whole lot of other things "on the backs" of lots people who engage in certain types of behavior.

Anonymous said...

Martinauk of 11:38 and 11:58, many people of same sex attraction disagree with you.

As to "The church said with one loud, clear, voice, that same-sex unions would NOT come to an end." What are you talking about?

"The church said with one loud, clear voice that heterosexual marriage is NOT the only definition of relationship." Of course, it isn't. But all of Anglicanism, and Christianity, and the BCP as written, have said that sexual relations are fully experienced and reserved for marriage. And, again, many gay 'folks' (which seems to be the new way to talk) agree with this.

Anonymous said...

As to shadowlistener's question "Will there be equal policing of the behaviour of heterosexuals outside of marriage?" Who is talking about policing? Not me. We hold up all sorts of things in the Church as normative and don't police their compliance. The issue is whether we should uphold the policy or undertaking of same sex unions and homsex by someone ordained. Most of the church, spread out through history and through the world now, says 'No, we should not.' The majority which the pansexualists claim is a majority of . . .what? Answer: delegates to the convention of one small denomination. Not the majority of members of that denomination, even. Certainly, not the majority of Christians.

As to Martinauk's commment that it isn't about sex . . .well, it really is. It's about a lot more, of course, but it is about behavior. Everyone knows that.

Anonymous said...

Jeff –

I think, respectfully, that your last posting has it right. I see no reason for either the unhinged rage at Fr. Jake’s site or the more reasoned gloominess expressed here. You may choose to believe ECUSA has bowed down to Canterbury on the backs of you and your brothers and sisters; after all, resolution B033 wouldn’t even exist if not for Gene Robinson’s consecration. On the other hand, it is abundantly clear that the language which passed is so anodyne as to be meaningless. The vast majority of those in Columbus demonstrated, again and again, that they would not single you out for discrimination. What’s more, you have Chane and his compatriots – at least – saying they plan to ignore the whole thing, anyway. Surely, many more that didn’t sign his statement will do the same. A small number of bishops dissented, but what’s that to you? They collectively have no leverage or authority over how ECUSA conducts itself.

I simply am baffled at the reaction. Gene Robinson remains in his see, SS blessings proceed apace and ECUSA has enthusiastically commended civil gay marriage. You are sure to be free of a good many of the remaining orthodox Christians in ECUSA within a year, and you may well also be free of the Anglican Communion and all of its so-called bigots. Be of good cheer. From Sunday to yesterday, you were given the keys to the whole shootin’ match.

Jeffrey Shy said...

I some 'procedural' questions at this point about what realistically can come from B033.

First, as "gay/lesbian" is not specified, then what other prohibitions might be implied here? Since I believe that only three provinces have ordained female bishops and there are many in the wider Anglican communion that would object to a female bishop/primate, does that mean no more women?
For that matter, since Katharine is elected but not consecrated, should we hold on the consecration pending further Anglican communion reflection? The Diocese of Ft. Worth petitioned Canterbury for alternative primatial oversight after her election, not after B033, so this may not be as unlikely as we might think. Furthermore, one other candidate's consent was passed just before this who was a man twice divorced and thrice married. If we are about the "bible says it" mentality, then there could not be "clearer" prohibition than that against divorce--straight from the mouth of Jesus for a biblical literalist. Surely this would be prohibited in a Bishop as well?

Even more unclear, what kind of "force" does this resolution carry? Did we not already hold that placing a moratorium on consecrations and same-sex blessings could only be addressed by amending the canons? If that is the case, what is the real substance behind this other than some "words of apeasement?"

As disappointed as I am this time round (and we have ALL been disappointed before, whether liberal or conservative), I will have a much harder time getting upset about this if it really is just a "pro forma" statement that allows dialogue to continue. I doubt that we will come to agreement in my lifetime, but I do believe things are possible with time and patience, as long as we continue to talk and consider.

I would only hope, that when there is disagreement, that we try hard not to control each other's actions. If the American church wishes to elevate gay/lesbian persons and some other province does not, can we not just say we disagree and continue as we are doing? This is, perhaps, why the liberals always "lose" when we draw battle lines. It is in the nature of liberality to try to tolerate the opposition while disagreeing with it. Conservatism, by its very nature, is not able to so strongly embrace diversity of opinion as equally valid options to achieve a shared goal---the love of God and our fellow humans and the relief of suffering seems about a close to the "center" as we can get.

If one wishes to believe that homosexuals are going to hell, that's OK with me. If one believes that they should be celibate, that's OK with me. It is just trying to control and practice an "Imperial" Christianity that is so hard to bear.

Sorry for the long post. Maybe I'm more upset than I thought? No, I'm tough. We'll survive.

Jeffrey Shy,
Mesa, Arizona

Anonymous said...

John Gibson, again, I say, the angst is misplaced; do you care to address the argument? The entire authority structure of ECUSA agrees with you; there will be no, “demanding more next time around.” This meaningless resolution, pathetic as it is, is the high-water mark for theological orthodoxy in ECUSA. You’ll have another gay bishop-elect probably in Newark before summer’s end. As I said above, SS blessings are not even addressed in B033 and will move forward smartly. Finally, Mrs. Schori is 100% in support of your agenda. So, I’ll ask again: what is your concern? You now own the Episcopal Church.

Anonymous said...

Really, John and Jeff, the problem is that you assume that it is the moving of the Spirit only when the move is the way you want it. As someone else once noted, the Spirit that seems so active in TEC, bumping into things and knocking them over, is remarkably dormant in most of the rest of the Communion, in Rome and in the Orthodox churches where, if it is moving at all, is moving the other way. If I were the Spirit and really wanted to promote your agenda in a hurry, I'd start with +++Benedict, one of those patriarchs in the East, or maybe with the Southern Baptist Convention. I certainly wouldn't make my move in the rapidly-becoming-irrelevant TEC, especially when the agenda is so much a part of what's responsible for TEC's increasing marginilization.

Perhaps. just perhaps, TEC's drift over the last 30 or so years, including the elevation of the Bishop of New Hampshire, hasn't been God's doing at all, but has been the work of, you know.... the other guy. But I'm not sure if TEC believes in him anymore.

And, no, I'm not a Bible thumping Neanderthal, homophobe or any of the other names you like to call people who disagree with you, I just think there's something mightily arrogant about taking 5,000 years of more or less consistent understanding of Scripture and turning it on its head, and then, when nearly everyone else disagrees, self-righteously accusing them of being ignorant bigots who, once our agenda is in place, will see how good it is and will become enlightened, too.

Catherine said...

Among a lot of other resolutiions and decisions, "...Deputies concurred with the House of Bishops in opposing the criminalization of homosexuality, opposing state or federal constitutional amendments that prohibits same-gender civil marriage or civil unions and affirming the civil rights of gays and lesbians.

Another resolution reiterates Episcopal Church support of gay and lesbian people as "children of God who have a full and equal claim with all other persons upon the love, acceptance, and pastoral concern and care of the Church."

Deputies also concurred with bishops in adopting a resolution calling for equal representation of women and men on all decision-making bodies within the church at local, diocesan and national levels. This recommendation originated with the 2005 meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council."

B033 has nothing to do with the ordination of women as priests, deacons or bishops, thankfully.

I think the above is some good news we can take away from Convention along with ++Katharine's election as our next Presiding Bishop.

I say we wait and be as patient as we can given the sly tactics of B033. As you may recall, the requested mandatory three years was zapped out of the resolution before passing, so it can be revoked apparently. Let's give ++Katharine the opportunity at Lambeth to get a foothold or upper hand and then the ultraorthodox in America can cool their heels. What may look like a defeat now, may become something completely different and amazing later. God's will shall be done in His time with His instrument, ++Katharine.

Don't let the reasserters get to you because of this temporary "fix" by enjoying our apparent disappointment. Don't give them any quarter. They know we will not back down, in fact we are more fired up than they can comprehend. Remember people,God knows our hearts and theirs. It will be more than OK.

Anonymous said...

10:57... the argument that this is about behavior is specious, because it doesn't acknowledge that the "behavior" in question is intimately tied to identity. Every gay person in the world will tell you, and every reputable psychologist or psychiatrist will agree, that sexuality is a fundmental aspect of identity, as intimiately tied to the individual's beingness as race or eye color (sometimes more). To pointlessly deny a behavior that is a basic and essential expression of who we arejust to make you feel more comfortable is crude and, yes, discriminatory. And it is the antithesis of my understanding of my calling as a Chrisitian to courageously become my authentic self.

So your suggestion that the dilemma is as simple as "just stop the behavior" is offensive and deliberately obtuse. More to the point, it is dishonest. If VGR consented to living in a sexless marriage with his partner, you and your ilk would be no more satisfied. You simply want gay people - as such - not to be a part of the life of the the Episcopal Church. It is appalling.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous at 1:37, you insist you're not a "Bible-thumping Neanderthal," and then proceed to defend your view by mentioning "5,000 years of more or less consistent understanding of Scripture." The fact that you believe we should be understanding and interpreting God's will in the same way people did 5000 years ago -- when the world was still flat -- is what makes you a Bible-thumping Neanderthal (to borrow your phrase).

Seriously, has mankind not evolved in any way over five millennia? Would you not expect God the Father to treat his children differently as they grow? These archaic rules were designed for one purpose only: to ensure the survival of the tribe. Surely I can see how "wasting your seed" on another man would have been truly sinful in that context...but we don't live in that context. Times have with God's guidance, man has changed with God's guidance, and eventually, the Church will change, with God's guidance.

Anonymous said...

To pointlessly deny a behavior that is a basic and essential expression of who we arejust to make you feel more comfortable is crude and, yes, discriminatory. And it is the antithesis of my understanding of my calling as a Chrisitian to courageously become my authentic self.

"So your suggestion that the dilemma is as simple as "just stop the behavior" . . . " No, that is not my simple solution. Admittedly, you bear a difficult burden by being drawn to the same sex. It is, or through psychosexual development/history, very central to your identity. But that doesn't really overcome the collective witness of scripture, anatomy, reason, tradition . . .and some might throw biology in the mix too. . . against homsex.

I leave aside how this recommended action, remaining chaste and celibate(advocated by the Dalai Lama no less BTW) "is offensive" and I don't know how it could be "deliberately obtuse." I do know that many, many want to stop the behavior and have. As a result, through discipline and vigilance many have learned to rely upon God in a new way. I am sorry that the church as a whole does not do a good job supporting single people--tho' many parishes do--so I think people on my side of the issue can always do a better job befriending gays. Still, that hardly excuses or justifies the pagan sexual ethic now alive in ECUSA. My major point is that there are many gays who do not advocate what you advocate.

Anonymous said...

Oops, forgot to add my comment about how the quote that follows sounds more like the spirit of the age than anything bound up with discipleship, conformity to Christ, obedience to God's commands . . .it is just another case of self-making . . . (see lately the The Ethics of Authenticity for one take on the genesis of this line)

"And it is the antithesis of my understanding of my calling as a Chrisitian to courageously become my authentic self."

Anonymous said...

Jeff – people on both sides, I believe, sincerely hold their positions. I can’t speak for you, but, from the orthodox perspective, I hear no – emphasis, no – discussion of being after power. We believe ECUSA has departed from the Faith once delivered and that provision should be made for the remnant which wishes to hold to that Faith. So, people hope quite openly, as you say, for a parallel (implying ECUSA still exists) province. I don’t think that embodies the evil vision you’ve painted of those with whom you disagree.

May I also ask re: “I'm not sure yet about the other Anglican leaders around the world. I think there we have more cultural issues to wrestle with that give us so much noise that it is difficult to see true intentions.” Isn’t the same true of us as Americans?

John Gibson – yes, it is the same bunch that, “caved,” except, as I argued above, they didn’t cave. Look, you have thirty bishops that signed Chane’s statement. Three are necessary to consecrate, and we are outside of the window of GC having to consent. You’re home free.

Don’t you know how to win? Pop some champagne and enjoy it. Honestly, it looks like, pace Jeff, the side that needs enemies is yours. As your opponent, I confess that we have been routed.

Renee in Ohio said...

I have posted some of my own reflections at Faithful Ohio. You are welcome to post your own words of comfort and support in the comments. Fair warning--people who come just to say unhelpful/hurtful things will find their comments deleted.

karl maria said...

Still looking for a breakdown of how the deputations voted on B033. ie... by Diocese.


karl maria said...

Thanks Moderator. What is the FJSTW blog?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your helpful updates on the unfortunate decisions made this past week, Susan. We're blogging on both the Episcopal and Presbyterian church decisions on the CrossWalk America blog at

We've been fortunate to have found a number of Episcopal church members and leaders solidly in support of lgbt equality as we've walked across America (we're presently half way through - in Lawrence, KS). Frankly, we've been amazed at how many people are out there - in both Mainline and even conservative denominations - who are supportive of lgbt equality yet have been too intimidated to speak up. Happily, The Walk is helping embolden some of them. A number have "come out" for the first time as supporting lgbt equality in their area.

Your readers can follow our progress across the country at and find info on CrossWalk America and the Phoenix Affirmations (12 progressive Christian principles, including full inclusion of lgbt persons) at

Keep up the good fight!

Anonymous said...

Who is "our friend, the poster of all things filthy and vile"? I have been reading spirited conversation, expression of deeply held belief. Isn't that what you all want? Conversation? Listening? No one has said anything filthy or vile. I thought we could all live together under the big tent, agree to disagree, hold disagreements in tension and all that. I guess some beliefs are more equal than others, huh.

Different Annony.

Don't want to sign my name- I might get called filthy and vile.

Anonymous said...

2:58/Anonymous: there are not "many gays" who disagree with me. There are a few, a tragic few, but not "many." In fact, I don't know one, but I'm sure there must be a few outside of cultlike "ex-gay" ministries who believe we are forced by God to be celibate.

By the way, please don't put words in my mouth. I don't in any way feel my sexuality is "a difficult burden." I sometimes find people like you a difficult burden, but not my sexuality. I have a partner I love more deeply everyday, and a son who is the light of our lives. I am delighted by my existence and have no small doubt that it is anything other than exactly what God intended for me.

Fianlly, all you can fall back on is "the collective witness of scripture, anatomy, reason, tradition . . .and some might throw biology in the mix too. . . against homsex." I do not see any such witness. I see passages in Scripture which are either misinterpreted, outdated or both. I see an anatomy that works quite well with my partner's, with particular construction that makes our distinct sex pleasurable. I see no "reason" whatsoever that supports your view; indeed, I see only "reason " that supports mine (alas, "reason" is subjective). And I hold little stock in traditions of bigotry. Slavery was a fine tradition once too. And one view of biology might well argue that we're saving the planet, not killing it.

But really, wasn't all that just legalistic case-building to try and justify your own bias against gay people? Don't you have to concede at least that?

Renee in Ohio said...

Is there a transcript somewhere of the Claiming the Blessing: Voices of Witness video? It seems like that would allow it to reach more people. I did an illustrated transcript once here.

But for some reason I can't do screen captures like that for the Claiming the Blessing video. The screen just goes black when I try.

Anonymous said...

Africa runs the show. Not the US.

karl maria said...

From my google daily quote on Wednesday, June 21:

“When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty.”
- George Bernard Shaw

Well, put. It should be the appointed reading this Sunday.

Catherine said...

I have read the Statement of Dissent on B-033 and it will be difficult to know all the dissenters but here is what was at the end of the statement that may help a little to understand the "why":

"We are not able to publish "the undersigned" bishops names because the bishops demonstrated their assent [to dissent] by standing after it was read in a closed session of the House of Bishops and it is uncertain exactly who stood up. However, the group at least includes the Bishops of Chicago, Newark, Northern Michigan, Rochester, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming."

Catherine said...

Here is a promise from God for the LGBT community in Christ. Let us all take it to heart and derive comfort and strength from it.

Jeremiah 29:11 (Contemporary English Version)

11 I will bless you with a future filled with hope--a future of success, not of suffering.

Let's claim it and live it because NO ONE can take it from us.


Anonymous said...

>Seriously, has mankind not evolved in any way over five millennia?

What would the hallmarks of that evolution be? How would you know evolution from wishful thinking?

>Would you not expect God the Father to treat his children differently as they grow?

I would let God the Father decide that--that's His choice.

>These archaic rules were designed for one purpose only: to ensure the survival of the tribe.

So . . . you’re not just trying to ensure the survival of your tribe? Or are you enacting the committed relationship as relayed: “Then he [Moses] took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, ‘We will do everything the LORD has said; we will obey.’”

Anonymous said...

So all the other PB candidates but +Jenkins indicated that they were willing to consecrate a LGBT bishop on their watch. +Jenkins was the only candidate who said that he would not.

+Jenkins only got 3 votes on the final ballot. Which of the progressive candidates were the "Network Bishops" supporting, why don't they come on out and claim it?

Check the election results here:

Anonymous said...

I could have sworn I posted this earlier, but perhaps I didn't complete it.

New England Cable News network aired a 9 minute interview with Bishop Shaw of Massachusetts. The interview started out by quoting Susan Russell and showing the quote on the screen.

You can view the interview online here.

Renee in Ohio said...

For what it's worth, I have posted some new reflections on "all of this" at Faithful Ohio.

Chip Webb said...


In answer to your question from the previous thread, I think that General Convention managed to come up with a resolution (B033) that satisfied no one, and obviously hurt a great many people on your end of the spectrum. (I heard from one delegate that there was a great deal of sobbing in the House of Delegates when they voted in favor of B033.)

What surprised me was that LGBTs and their supporters stood against A161 en masse in the House of Deputies on Monday and Tuesday. That version of A161 actually did not call for any moratoria. The resolution said that this general convention would not develop any new rites of blessing. It specifically limited its ruling to, first, general conventions (the members of the special committee made it clear that they were intentionally not including bishops in the resolution -- I was there when they said so in the special committee meeting), and, secondly, THIS general convention. By the time that it got to the House of Deputies, there were two days left in "this" general convention -- no time was left to develop any rites, and none had been planned anyway.

Now the previous paragraph of the resolution did say that the general convention was "obliged to urge" various committees not to elect any bishops whose "manner of life" offended the "wider church." But all it did was "urge" -- it would not stop. Further, it was "obliged to urge" this. In the special committee meeting, someone on the committee asked whether that terminology was exact because it implied that the committee really didn't want to do this. Other members of the committee said that they intentionally wanted that implication in there -- that TEC was only doing this because they felt pressured to do so.

So the version of resolution A161 that reached the House of Deputies on Monday afternoon was a huge red herring. It was a resolution that sounded like it was enacting moratoria when it really was doing nothing of the sort. That's why I was puzzled as to why LGBTs and their supporters weren't supporting it. We on the orthodox end weren't supporting it because it was a sham.

Now that I think about it, though, LGBTs and their supporters on the floor mostly responded not to the first two paragraphs that formed the response to Windsor, which I just mentioned, but the last two paragraphs containing apologies to LGBTs.

In any case, A161 died and B033 arose from the ashes, thanks to the hard work of Peter Lee. B033 manages to be harder for LGBTs and their supporters to accept, yet still falls short of Windsor by a million miles. No one is satisfied.

Peace of Christ to all,

Anonymous said...

Though he was non-commital in The Witnes interview (, +Parsley gave his consent in 2003 to +Robinson's consecration, and has a reputation on T19 as having played hardball with orthodox clergy in his own diocese since 2003. It is difficult to imagine that the network bishops could have voted for +Parsley under any circumstance.

If the Orthodox Bishops weren't voting for +Jenkins, they must have been voting for a progressive candidate.


Anonymous said...

OK, a word from your conservative Roman Catholic lurker:

Why all the overwrought anguish here and on other LGBT EpiscoBlogs?

The LGBT faction won virtually all of its fights in GenCon. The only thing you lost was this last resolution B033. The strong-armed way it was rammed through GenCon, the weak wording, and the statement of dissent by the Gang of 30 clearly make it unenforceable. Worst case, it may cause some diocesan search committees to think twice before suggesting a LGBT candidate for bishop. How many people does that affect over the next 3 years? 20 or 30?

By the sounds of things, I thought the GenCon had advocated napalm strikes on the Castro.

You won the war but lost an insignificant skirmish at the end. Now comes the real anguish as the remaining orthodox head for the exit signs.


Jake said...

For clarification, my specific entry that Susan referred to in her post can now be found here:

Episcopal Church Bows to the Idol of Communion: Embraces Bigotry

Anonymous said...

John 316 said: "+Parsley gave his consent in 2003 to +Robinson's consecration,"

Not so. Parsley voted, "NO"

Anonymous said...


Thanks for correcting me!