Monday, May 31, 2010

Catching up: Jim Naughton, +Charles Jenkins, The Tea Party, etc.

We've had a "crazy busy" couple of weeks here on the Left Coast. Between hosting Bishop Barbara Harris and Bishop Christopher Senyonjo at All Saints, ordaining two new bishops for the Diocese of Los Angeles, getting organized for Gay Pride coming up June 13th AND having my son home on leave from the army for a week, I've had precious little time to think about anything other than the thing in front of me at the moment. And now we're on countdown-to-vacation at my house ... which means many "to do" lists and not much time to do them!

That said, I took a little break this morning for a second cup of Memorial Day coffee to catch up on who's been saying what about some things "life in general" and things "Anglican in particular:"

[Jim Naughton being brilliant ..]

Jim Naughton on Episcopal Cafe:

I had a sudden realization: reflecting on Rowan Williams’ letter wasn’t a worthwhile use of my time; writing it was not a worthwhile use of his. The issues at stake have become so trivial—We are not debating right and wrong, we are debating whether there should be trifling penalties for giving offense to other members of the Communion.—that to engage them at all compromises our moral standing and diminishes our ability to speak credibly on issues of real importance.

This isn’t to say that we don’t have to make a decision about whether to accede to the archbishop’s proposal—and I suppose I think that we shouldn’t because it would only encourage him to make other such requests—just that whether we accede or not make very little difference to the world, to the Communion, to our ecumenical partners, to our church, or even to a Communion news junky like me.

Which is why I was of no use to the reporters I spoke to on Friday afternoon; because, God bless them, they had to write stories based on the mistaken notion that all of this stuff still matters, and increasingly, it does not.

Read the rest here ...

[Bishop Charles Jenkins with some interesting insights ...]

+Charles Jenkins on BBC radio

BBC Sunday Programme

Click on the "listen now" audio link at the link above and go approximately 13:55 in for Bishop Jenkins on the Gulf Oil Disaster; 18:50 for his response to the question about the Archbishop of Canterbury's Pentecost letter, which included this quote:

"My experience of the last five years is that I have lived so low on Mazlow's hierarchy of needs that I have not been able to worry about issues of human sexuality. And when the church is involved and heavily invested in feeding the poor, and housing the poor and clothing the naked that those issues take on their relative unimportance. Personally, I'm going to keep showing up. I am going to continue to be part of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion until finally somebody tells me I can no longer do so."

[And finally, a great "history lesson" from this week's New Yorker Letters section:]

Letter in "The New Yorker" on the Tea Party

"History Lessons"

The so-called Tea Partiers may portray themselves as heirs to American Revolutionaries, but they are actually the descendents of those who lost the debate of 1788 – in particular, the strain of constitutional opponents who violently resisted federal authority until Washington took to the battlefield against them. American Revolutionaries opposed taxation without representation. These people oppose any taxation at all.

Despite their “We the People” T-shirts, the visceral drivers of this fragmented formation are not conservatives striving to defend the Bill of Rights and strictly defend constitutional language. They are anti-federalists, opposed to any meaningful central government, hostile to the principle of America’s founders, and determined to re-create the loose association of local authorities that fell apart within a few years of its establishment.

David B. Kanin
Adjunct Professor of International Relations
Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, MD

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