Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Nancy Drew and The Case of the Errant Anglican Emails

So it's been a busy couple of days over in this particular corner of the fields of the Lord.

I was still in Holy Week/Easter Recovery Mode and thought I had plenty on my plate to deal with just getting caught up on all the things on my "To Do After Easter" list ... plus the unexpected chance to be part of a Marriage Equality PSA video AND the invitation to the GLAAD Media Awards on Sunday night. Yesiree Bob, a very full dance card indeed.

And then I checked my email on Saturday night. And there -- lo and behold -- was a note with an attachment entitled "Bishops' Statement on Episcopal Polity" and including a smoking gun email trail with a very interesting glimpse behind the process of bringing this document into fruition.

It came with an introductory note from the email correspondent which included the following:

I am writing about a time sensitive situation for the national Episcopal Church. I am vaguely aware of some of the details regarding several Diocese scattered across the country who are attempting to separate from the national body of the Church.

For reasons I will never know (perhaps providential -- most likely it is that my initials are the similar as his and thus someone typed in an incorrect email) this morning I received in my email box communication from Bishop D. Bruce MacPherson and a group of his supporters about new documents that are in their final phase of planning that they plan to release soon.

Their present logic behind why they are truly independent of the national body and thus justified by history to do whatever they wish. They indicate they are going public soon. I assume you might know who would like this info to prepare an immediate response etc.

My, my, my.

What to do?

Well, turns out the recipient of the Errant Anglican Emails had reached out to several folks who are identified leaders in LGBT Land, and so after putting our heads together and discerning that the emails were in fact authentic -- and that this "Bishops' Statement" was indeed fixing to launch -- we girded our loins and did what Our Lord told us in the third chapter of the Gospel According to John was the thing to do: turned on the lights.

So now the word is out, the lights are on, the "men behind the curtain" have been "outed." And now -- in an effort to reframe the story from the lengths this bunch of division focused schismatics will go to split the church they have been unsuccessful in re-creating in their own image -- they are (of course) blaming those who have turned on the lights -- not those who have created the mess.

"But is this really news?" asked a colleague a few minutes ago in an email.

"Yes," I replied. "Yes it is."

And here's why. The quote I had in my press release is from a good friend of ours who was STUNNED by how "much plotting is going on."

"I had no idea" he said.

And what I wanted to say was "No shit, Sherlock!" ... but I didn't Because the truth is there are boatloads of well meaning, hard working, faithful Episcopalians out there who really DON'T know that while they're busy talking reconciliation and being nice to each other the other side is off doing whatever it takes to undermine us and our mission and our ministry.

Like plotting "mild kinds of extortion" and rewriting the history of the polity of the Episcopal Church to fit a scenario where they don't have to let the General Convention OR the Presiding Bishop "be the boss of them."

We need to make this news because we need to "turn on the light" and expose what's going on. And we have. And I consider that a very good day's work indeed -- even as I regret the need to have to do this particular piece of work when the world is calling us to get on with proclaiming the Year of the Lord's Favor.

Finally, I'm taking flak for being quoted using the word "cretin" in the Washington Blade. As is often the case with the secular media (and yes, I should know by now to be more careful!) context counts. And while I could and probably should have chosen my words more carefully, the context for that particular comment was exposing the actions of those who mask their homophobia, sexism and and entitlement with a veneer of civility and rapprochement that belies the lengths to which they'll go under cover of darkness to maintain their power and the status quo.

So, for the record, I do regret using the word "cretin." I regret it because cretin infers ignorance -- and I will not grant the architects of this schism the cover of ignorance.

They know precisely what they are doing. And the fact that they doth protest so much when their schemes are brought to the light only serves to make that point.


Matthew said...

This is SO true. I recall in the 1990's that when some dioceses were going ahead with same sex blessings, many conservatives said it was improprer because you needed approval larger than the diocese, that the Bishop was not the be-all, end-all. They meant Gen. Conv. approval. When the whole church began to change, then the next straw they grasped was to have the Anglican Communion make our decisions for us. Then it became clear that was not working out so well either. We did not get kicked out of the communion and Rowan invited most of our bishops. Plan C. Now they've gone with the diocesan model. Looks like grasping at straws to me. Chasing majorities wherever you find them and they happen to be useful and the moment.

I realize that our church and the Anglican communion has struggled with balancing diocesan independece and national and international interdependence (and we should be able to disagree on the weight of those questions. Some will go ahead with same sex blessings because they feel its of the spirit; others will want to see a national consensus develop first).

BUT, can they please articulate a theory of diocesan independence vs. national and international interdependence and, you know, like, stick to it for a few decades regardless of which way the winds are blowing, pro-gay or anti-gay.

Frair John said...

Matthew -

One of the things that I have noticed is that, every so often, those who are interested in the idea of a sort of non organic understanding of orthodoxy must reinvent history in order to make sure that they allways are on the right side.

For example, note how some will read infalibility (either scriptural or Papal) back in history in oder to bolster it. This lack of consistancy is just par for the course in matters such as this.

JimB said...

Am I the only one who is amused that they are acting like affronted virgins because the conspiracy lost its cover?


Kirkepiscatoid said...

Naw, Jim, I am too.

And Susan, I wouldn't sweat them picking on you. Even though I sort of poked you on FB razzingly a little, I did not realize someone was poking at you for real over it, b/c I never read those nasty orthodite blogs anymore.

But I am just as guilty as you as getting someone upset by getting mad and using a medical diagnosis as an insult. Even more so, b/c I know so doggone many diagnoses! So hang in there and I'm sorry I did not know the upshot of what was going on in the land of nastygrams, or else I would not have joshingly twisted your tail on FB.

Lester said...

I would be interested to hear what is wrong with the article published from a factual standpoint. Calling others "cretins" because you don't agree with their cause is not particularly convincing of your point of view. Criticizing their emails for trying to determine who was going to sign on to the statement and ensuring that the statement was correct (from their view point) is also not convincing of your point of view, especially when everyone knows that you have participated in many similar "strategizing" emails and conferences, yourself. So, Mtr Russell, what is your evidence that what the bishops and the ACI have researched and presented is not true?


Lester ... Thanks for asking. I'm actually working on a piece tentatively entitled "Apples & Oranges" unpacking the many ways what the CP/ACI folks have been up to differs from what folks on our side of aisle are up to. Stay tuned. (And, FYI, I don't "do" the "Mtr" thing ... "Susan" is just fine. Thanks.)

Clyde said...

And you are so right Susan. "Susan is just fine," with many of us.