Great new piece just posted to The Witness website by Daniel Webster, recently of Utah and presently on staff with the National Council of Churches.
by Daniel J. Webster
Thursday, August 24, 2006
We blinked. We had stood up for the Holy Spirit's full inclusion of all people. And then we blinked. Why? What happened in Columbus that didn't happen in Minneapolis?
General Convention is supposed to be our governing authority. We have no pope. We have no dictatorial central teaching authority. We are governed by lay, clergy and bishops coming together in prayer and discernment to lay out the best way they know how the actions of God leading us forward as this church in this time.
But in Columbus, it appears all the rules got thrown aside because of threats from a faction of so-called Christians who are driven by power and control rather than grace and justice.
I felt the Holy Spirit once again in the hall when the announcement came that the first female presiding bishop was elected. The time afforded prayer in the House of Deputies was extraordinary. The silence before the announcement of the bishops' choice was most reminiscent of the Deputies' vote for Gene Robinson three years ago. It was like a Pentecost wind blowing through our church. The polity of our church was working. It was open, transparent, and grace-filled.
We had stood up for the Holy Spirit's full inclusion of all people. And then we blinked.
But then on the final day in Columbus one Convention blogger said the outgoing presiding bishop "chastised" both deputies and bishops for "not taking seriously" the Windsor Report. The incoming presiding bishop made a plea for the deputies to pass the resolution that targets one group of Episcopalians as unworthy of being elected bishop. One deputy was quoted in the media as saying, "What are you supposed to do when your presiding bishop asks you to do something?"
I wasn't there. I had left Convention that morning. But my answer to the question proposed by that deputy is that when your presiding bishops asks you to do something, read it closely, carefully, and prayerfully. Roll it over your tongue. If it tastes bad, don't swallow it. Don't let the work of the Holy Spirit and all the good and faithful servants of God be thrown away. Don't give up the democratic polity of the Episcopal Church for the patriarchal, authoritarian polity of the Church of Nigeria.
Read it all here ... and be sure to bookmark "The Witness" as one of the great prophetic resources in the church today!