2/16/2009

Things I wish we could get right:

In Anglican Land, where words flow like water, we have gotten into bad habits. I wish we could get clear about several things:

(i) The member churches of the Anglican Communion are properly "national or regional churches." "Province" reeks of the very "sub" of "subsidiarity" that has been driving us all crazy since the Windsor Report. It assumes that the churches are parts or provinces of something else. They are not. (Thanks to Daniel Weir for his comments on this HERE.)

(ii) In Episcopal Church land, the meeting of bishops between General Conventions is not a meeting of The House of Bishops, as if one house of General Convention met as a separate body with the right to speak for the Church. These meetings are more properly Bishops Conferences, during which they can indeed do those things that pertain to the office of bishops alone (such as acting in final determination that a member bishop is deposed, or electing a missionary bishop subject to consent by standing committees, etc.). The role of the House of Bishops extends beyond General Convention only in the limited ways allowed by canon. Otherwise they can meet and do things useful to them later when they do come together at General Convention, converse among themselves, write papers, urge actions from Executive Council, etc. But that is not the House of Bishops speaking, that is a Bishop's Conference speaking.

(iii) Resolutions of ANY body of the Anglican Communion have no juridical weight in any church in the Communion unless adopted as such by the governing body of that Church. So Lambeth 1998, res 1.10 can be touted as "the mind of the Communion" until the end of time, but no church in the Communion who has not assented to it is bound to it. That is why the Windsor Report is a report, the Lambeth resolution is couched in language of the gathered bishops with recommendations and urging of restraint rather than command, and the Anglican Covenant is not the Covenant until it is affirmed by churches. Everything else is politics.

(iv) The desire to be a world wide Anglican Church is the desire to be a little version of Rome or Constantinople. It's not worth it. The world does not need, and for that matter we Christians do not need, another Patriarchy.

37 comments:

  1. Nom de Plume17/2/09 7:59 AM

    Very helpful comments as usual, Mark. The interesting and intractable problem is that bishops when gathered together under just about any circumstances often seem to think they have some kind of extra-canonical authority. I hope many read your corrective.

    Incidentally, I think we're much closer to Constantinople than Rome already, as the Orthodox (the proper ones, not the ex-Anglican poseurs) are a communion of autocephalous churches, not unlike the Anglican Communion, but with fewer Instruments of Communion.

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  2. "The desire to be a world wide Anglican Church is the desire to be a little version of Rome or Constantinople. It's not worth it. The world does not need, and for that matter we Christians do not need, another Patriarchy."

    AMEN! Thank you for the courage to put into words that which many of us dared not say aloud.

    I, for one, am sick unto death of having TEC and her stand for all the sacraments for all the baptized held hostage to membership in the Anglican Church.

    There is not such thing as an 'Anglican Church'. There is, however, a World Wide Anglican Communion'. It is what I signed up for when I became an Episcopalian and what may just still be worth the struggle.

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  3. Mark - I agree with you concerning the above, technically. However, where does and how does an honest and respectful interdependence within the Communion come into play (regardless of how the other guys act toward us)?

    For example, there is a push to have BO33 overturned/overruled/called moot during our upcoming GC. We know how a good part of the Communion will react, even among those who are sympathetic to our position. Technically, we absolutely have the right within the Communion and within our polity to act however we determine we want to act. Yet, sometimes to act in ways that are technically permissible do not bring us to a good end.

    As a priest that happens to be gay, I do not see the exercising of our right to forgo BO33 or rejecting the call of most of the rest of the Communion to maintain the moratoria as a positive way forward.

    Why? Not because we do not have the right to do as we please for whatever reason(s), but because we do not live on an ecclesiastical island. If we exercise or legal right to determine for ourselves what we shall do regardless of international/inter-provincial reactions (even when we hate the other position), what comes of our GLBT brothers and sisters in most of the rest of the Communion where their only option is silence or violence when our place and voice and influence is denigrated even further or removed altogether from the greater Communion?

    There has to be a point where our all-too-American hubris and unilateralism gives way. For the safety of and the yet-to-be-realized justice within the rest of the Communion for GLBT people (or anyone else), we may need to put aside full implementation of what we believe to be true and just within our own Church. For their sake, I’m willing to sacrifice a bit longer and steer away from what we have the technical right to decide and do.

    Can we do that? Can we act in ways other than our American cultural proclivity towards hyper-individualism and unilateralism? I'm just asking, or perhaps seeking a different way forward.

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  4. Just a note that it's more a Rome than a Constantinople. Orthodoxy, as a collection of national or regional churches, has no unified leader, no central body at all. Only the media (and, sometimes, certain theologians) make the Patriarch out to be the "leader of world-wide Orthodoxy" as a parallel to the pope.

    Anglican land does, even now mirror Orthodox land: with a primus-inter-pares without power save in love's name, several also-pares trying to up the ante, jurisdictional overlap in the USA, Jerusalem and Europe, sheep steeling and even whole parishes changing jurisdictions, and liturgical in-fighting about who is right with what text or translation that proves it. Don't tell anyone, but sometimes you even see women wearing cassocks, although not as priests. Yet. And the Primate of Finland wants to welcome gay people.

    So... there's a reason there were Orthodox Bishops at the "Fond du lac Circus"

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  5. Fr. Mark,

    Just a sincere question with all due respect: do you object to ACNA being accepted into the Anglican Communion? Why or Why not?

    DoW

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  6. Bob G+ wrote: "If we exercise o(u)r legal right to determine for ourselves what we shall do regardless of international/inter-provincial reactions (even when we hate the other position), what comes of our GLBT brothers and sisters in most of the rest of the Communion where their only option is silence or violence when our place and voice and influence is denigrated even further or removed altogether from the greater Communion?"

    As far as I'm concerned, this is precisely why those of us in the WWAC everywhere (and, it's not just "American hubris", BTW, but, for example, in the entire UK), need to take leadership in this issue.

    I do not feel called to the episcopacy, having had the privilege and opportunity to test it three times, but I do believe it is sin - S.I.N. writ large - to prohibit or inhibit the spirit's call to all the people of God to all the sacraments and sacramental rites of the church.

    And, in so doing so, we lead the way for LGBT people around the world. There are LGBT people in Nigeria, Cameroon, Uganda and Rwanda who are finally finding their voice because of our . . . "actions". If you 'google' "Voices of Africa' you'll begin to see what I mean. Cynthia Black and Katie Sherrod have been video taping interviews they have had with men and women from these countries. Their stories are deeply moving and transformative.

    That's not hubris. That's leadership. That's taking a risk for the gospel message vs. biblical or religious literalism.

    That's precisely what Jesus did in his day for the anawim of his ancient culture - touching lepers, healing a man born blind who was believed to have been 'punished' for 'the sins of the father', eating with prostitutes and tax collectors and other 'unclean' people, not instructing his disciples in the appropriate cleansing ritual before eating.

    It's not about 'legal rights'. It's about having the courage to take the risk of the good news of Christ Jesus vs. following letter of scriptural or religious law.

    Jesus called the 'anawim' - the outcasts - of his day 'beloved'. We should, too. And, when we do, when we live what Martin Luther King, Jr. called, "The Beloved Community," we always incur the wrath of those who want to keep the anawim the anawim.

    That's a price I'm willing to pay. Why? Because, if we had waited for the rest of the communion to endorse the ordination of women, I would not be ordained today, 24 years later.

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  7. . . what comes of our GLBT brothers and sisters in most of the rest of the Communion where their only option is silence or violence when our place and voice and influence is denigrated even further or removed altogether from the greater Communion?

    And what has become of them, to this point, or will become of them if we remain complicit in an organization that helps oppress them? How are we helping by participating in an organization in which we have no de facto voice of witness?

    The practical truth, the real truth, is that the AC has become a force of corruption, a juggernaut bringing despair and stagnation, and we cannot change that with the mantra "at the table, at the table, at the table." Whatever table we're at in the AC, it's not the grownup table.

    Remaining faithful to unjust and unholy moratoria on our part is to participate in the violence. When you hear of violence against gays, hatred towards us in Nigeria, Uganda, or right here in the US of A in our "orthodox" parishes, we can all proudly say "We helped enable that!"

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  8. Huzzah!

    Mark, would you mind lifting out BobG+'s post, and Elizabeth Kaeton's response?

    It's an exchange worth highlighting (and a dialogue worth continuing, by those who wish to participate in it)

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  9. Jeffrey Steenson18/2/09 6:14 AM

    Since my departure from the House of Bishops in September 2007, it has been a relatively simple matter to keep a respectful distance from these conversations within my old ecclesial home. Formation for the Catholic priesthood has been very intensive, and the joy of being in communion with Peter and his successors is reason enough, Aristotle's final cause.

    But I try to keep up with the comings and goings of TEC, and I noted with especial interest Mark's lucid post on the polity of the Episcopal Church. This is precisely what drove me out of TEC, the day I heard it articulated by the many at the House of Bishop's meeting in Camp Allen in spring, 2007. That was a very bleak day indeed, and I remember thinking that so many Anglicans who have been worked toward enhanced structures of communion, both for the sake of the unity of the communion and for the goals of ARCIC , would be shattered. And, yet, this clarity turned out to be a great blessing in my life. How important to find a church whose principles you can serve with "every fiber of your being." And to pray for your former confreres, that the mystery of God's providence will be made known in their lives as well.

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  10. Whatever TEC decides, please follow your convictions with integrity....... what has let TEC down is the spectacle of your PBs agreeing with all the Primates at Dromantine, Tanzania and now Egypt but then doing the opposite..... if they do not agree, say so and do what you say...... people would respect that..... however, having another BO33 type statement but ignoring it on the ground will not show integrity (or real conviction)..... let your yes be yes and your no be no (and not based on wanting club membership with Rowan)

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  11. Bishop Steenson...now on the way to priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church... an honor to know you have visited here. I admired your clarity and honesty in the decisions you made and the respect you showed TEC in your leaving.

    As to your comment re lucid polity, I am committed to our being part of the Anglican Communion and the AC seeking union with others. The enhanced structures you speak of are not nearly as important as the enhanced companionship in Jesus Christ, something I believe you work for with others, hopefully including your servant Mark.

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  12. JCF...the remarks are not mine to permit or not... these are open and on the net. Lift as you will. I don't know abut EK and BobG+ comments, but I let mine go with thanks that you consider them useful.

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  13. I agree with what I think Jeffrey Steenson is getting at: the polity expressed in section (ii) of the comments is really remarkable for an organization that styles itself "Episcopal."

    The Lambeth Quadrilateral, of which something was made in a recent post, and which our esteemed colleague JCF often lauds, mentions the "historic episcopate" as a non-negotiable feature. Unfortunately, what is articulated in (ii) isn't that.

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  14. "There has to be a point where our all-too-American hubris and unilateralism gives way." (Bob G+)

    I am quite sure Father Bob knows this, but, of course, these weighty matters are not only under consideration in the United States. Wherever a group of God's children are singled out for oppression for whatever reason, others of strong faith will work for change. Hence all the discussions among our fellow Anglicans in Canada, Brazil, Scotland, England and many other places with regard to the full inclusion of lesbian and gay people in the life of God's church.

    Bottom line: There are some - perhaps even many - who believe that the very Gospel itself mandates institutional rethinking on these matters; there are others - definitely many - for whom ("practicing") gay people have no place whatsoever in God's church - not even at the communion rail - apart from one of seeking what they might call "healing."

    In the same way, of course, there are many Anglicans who affirm the ordination of women to all orders of ministry, and other Anglicans who see no place for women whatsoever in, say, the priesthood or the episcopate.

    The real question, it seems, is this: What will it take for the Anglican Communion to get to that blessed place where people can disagree on some things yet remain nonetheless in full communion with each other? Had we achieved it with regard to women's ordination? If so, how can we reinstitute such delightfully Anglican equilibrium - without doing so at the expense of fellow human beings, of course, without perpetrating spiritual violence against our neighbor. The idea that the only road to peace is Roman-style uniformity - on paper anyway - is truly not very inspiring for those of us who cherish the many gifts of Anglican polity, particularly the ability to change as Scripture, Tradition and Reason interact.

    christopher+

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  15. And the Episcopal Church has never had a "Primate", but instead a "Presiding Bishop"; that is until Bishop Schori changed her letterhead. No point in waiting on a little Constitutional change when the printer can do it, right?

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  16. Steenson makes a good point.

    If it's Roman Catholic authority and structure you want, then GO BE A ROMAN CATHOLIC.

    Wouldn't THAT solve a lot. Why do you suppose they won't do it?

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  17. The PB's title of Primate is in the Episcopal Church's Canons: I.2.4

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  18. The Presding Bishop has had the additional title of Primate for at least a decade; the title may be found in the Constitution of the Episcopal Church, Canon I.2.2-4, Sec. 4(a). This document is easily "googleable."

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  19. Allen has been corrected by several folk before I had a chance to get to it. The change in the canons took place in 1982.

    The letterhead of the Presiding Bishop is quite correct. She is Presiding Bishop and Primate.

    "No point in waiting on a little Constitutional change when the printer can do it, right?" Wrong. It is not a constitutional change that is needed and it happened canonically three Presiding Bishops ago, while Bishop Allin was Presiding Bishop.

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  20. JFC...oh, now I see. You want me to lift it out.. I will later. I thought you wanted to lift it out for something you are doing. (Long day, sigh!)

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  21. Well. That didn't take long. I just suspected that if I threw out an absurdity (that the PB ISN'T a Primate) that folks would go crashing into their computers to labor like scholars over the canons to quote chapter, verse, and date. You didn't let me down.

    But: where WERE you on the really important issues: inhibiting a Church of England bishop, refusing the request of a bishop to be an honorary member of the HOB, creative math to determine what a voting majority is like in the HOB, the office of PB reconstituting dioceses unilaterally, winking at communion of the unbaptized when the canons state plainly otherwise, and on and on and on.

    Don't bother diving for the canons again. You drank the Kool Aid of David Booth Beers. Be honest. The "creative" canonical interpretations mentioned didn't start happening in this way until our current Presiding Bishop "and Primate" was voted in. The Church has become a play thing for a very unique and small elite group who withered down the opposition.

    Well played.

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  22. Allen.. I allowed the post of your last comment so that readers will understand that I am removing your further comments from this blog for a while.

    As you know I have done this before. Then you up and write something that really adds to the conversation. So I end up putting your remarks back on.

    But this your latest bit of drivel is the last for the time being.

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  23. I noted with especial interest Mark's lucid post on the polity of the Episcopal Church. This is precisely what drove me out of TEC, the day I heard it articulated by the many at the House of Bishop's meeting in Camp Allen in spring, 2007. That was a very bleak day indeed, and I remember thinking that so many Anglicans who have been worked toward enhanced structures of communion, both for the sake of the unity of the communion and for the goals of ARCIC, would be shattered.

    There's a lot to chew on here.

    I'm happy you're happy, Jeffrey. Your leave-taking of TEC was done w/ integrity, and your path well-traveled (though my Anglican understanding won't accept the proposition "being in communion with Peter and his successors", as synonomous w/ "submission to the current Bishop of Rome"). In short: be well, be happy, worship Christ.

    However, your passage above is in many ways to me, horrifying. Horrifying, that someone could have ascended all the way to the episcopacy in TEC, and have SO LITTLE understanding of this church, while getting there! Mark's posts re Episcopal polity ARE very "lucid" . . . yet no more than a first-year seminarian should have been taught. Where in the world was your formation as Episcopalian (even as a confirmand---nevermind priesthood and the episcopacy!)???

    You do us, those you left behind, a great service---even as you believe you have found blessing in leaving us.

    My fellow&sister Episcopalians, we've simply GOT to review our canons, to prevent so (many?) evidently non-Episcopalians (in the depths of their faith) from being passed up the line, even to the HofB.

    [NB: re so many Anglicans who have been worked toward enhanced structures of communion ... for the goals of ARCIC. I, myself, have been one of those Anglicans. Rather than being "shattered", au contraire, I am relieved to hear Anglican polity clearly articulated.

    Jeffrey, Rome and Canterbury will NEVER reunite, on the basis of a lie: "We're just like you." Anglican (Episcopalian!) polity is very different than Roman polity. Only by encompassing, not subsuming, those differences, can TRUE unity be built---in Christ. (JMO: from my ecumenical experiences of ~20 years ago, I thought ARCIC relations were being crippled by, on the Anglican side, Roman Wannabes. Too little Truth-telling, when that Truth was HARD. When/If the Wannabes have become actual Romans, I hope ARCIC can begin again, on a much firmer footing. Again, just my 2c.)]

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  24. The Lambeth Quadrilateral, of which something was made in a recent post, and which our esteemed colleague JCF often lauds, mentions the "historic episcopate" as a non-negotiable feature. Unfortunately, what is articulated in (ii) isn't that.

    "locally-adapted"

    You forgot the "locally-adapted" qualifier of the "Historic episcopate" part of the Quad, Phil. (Ergo, Episcopal polity is perfectly consistent with it)

    ***

    JFC...oh, now I see. You want me to lift it out.. I will later.

    Yup, you got it Mark (and no worries!).

    I just believe that BobG+ and Lizbet have gotten to the crux of a vitally important issue (upon which people of good faith may disagree): Does TEC help our LGBT brothers&sisters around the AC more by complying, or defying?

    [While I have my own hunches, I really want to hear more discussion about the topic]

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  25. "I just suspected that if I threw out an absurdity ....." We believe you, Allen. Every last one of us. An "absurdity" (actually, Allen, the polite version of the correct word is "falsehood") so blatant that for once it can neither be ignored or shrugged off, and the best we can come up with is an excuse on a par with "the dog ate my homework"?

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  26. JCF: My fellow & sister Episcopalians, we've simply GOT to review our canons, to prevent so (many?) evidently non-Episcopalians (in the depths of their faith) from being passed up the line, even to the HofB.


    AMEN! and again AMEN!

    Ever since my own experience in ‘inquirer’s classes’ I have been concerned about the formation (or lack thereof) of new Episcopalians. Thankfully, I came to the Episcopal Church with a strong background and many years of study and questioning on my own as well as being organist and choirmaster in a fine Episcopal parish with excellent preaching and teaching.

    I am convinced much of the trouble we are experiencing is due to poor formation of both clergy and laity.

    Orgelman

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  27. Churchmouse19/2/09 11:23 AM

    To Orgelman: I am glad that you have had such a positive experience in TEC. My presence in church every Sunday is based on my being married to a church musician, and, sadly, I see that there is a big difference between being a real parishioner and being in my status.

    Church, more and more, is just mush to me. A boring duty. I enjoy singing in the choir, but the rest is just empty ritual, in the absence of any interaction of equals in the environment. I am a cradle Episcopalian.

    If I leave the church, I will, I suppose, become a small part of the spurious statistics the fungelicals so love to tout - but I will not be leaving because I hold their opinions (which I find repellent.) I will be leaving because the experience of church is so empty. And having seen the emptiness from the front of the church, I don't think I could go somewhere else and take seriously what I see from the nave.

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  28. This discussion (with the one noted exception,) is the most informed, lucid, respectful, and helpful I've seen on the Anglican/Episcopal blogs in a very long time, maybe ever.

    Three cheers to Mark and the grownups. Blessings on all of you.

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  29. I am convinced much of the trouble we are experiencing is due to poor formation of both clergy and laity.

    Orgelman, I don't know about clergy formation, but laity formation is poor to nearly non-existent in some areas. Many Episcopalians seem to have little sense if a common identity with their fellow church members. I'm not pushing one size fits all, but the formation process for laity is weak in too many parishes.

    As for the Episcopal Church and the moratoria, "Justice delayed is justice denied". There's always someone saying, "Wait", and that should not paralyze us and keep us from doing the right thing.

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  30. "Mark Harris said...

    Allen.. I allowed the post of your last comment so that readers will understand that I am removing your further comments from this blog for a while...your latest bit of drivel is the last for the time being."

    Mark,

    I enjoy your blog and find it quite informative.

    I have never had (and I may not now have) anything particularly useful to contribute, so, perhaps like many of your other readers, I tend mostly to sit back and lazily soak in the excellent points raised by you and your commentators (I guess the economists would call that some kind of reprehensible theological "free-riding").

    But I was finally moved to speak when I saw you announce (with more than a bit of condescension - "drivel") your muzzling of Allen.

    Sure he was way too snarky and defensive.

    But your typically allowing the airing of his opinions (that are not atypical of people that disagree with you and much of the TEC hierarchy) has helped, as Episcogal said, to make your blog "the most informed, lucid, respectful, and helpful I've seen on the Anglican/Episcopal blogs in a very long time, maybe ever."

    So I'm a bit concerned that excommunicating the excitable Allen from your blog will, while maintaining its civil (charmingly high-W.A.S.P.)tone, will ultimately reduce its robustness and usefulness to the rest of us that look to Preludium to give us a quick handle on a range of important issues you regularly raise.

    Based on the care you've taken to make your blog such a uniquely special place for genuine dialogue, I doubt you'll let your blog become yet one more ideological cul-de-sac that seems to be the inescapable fate of so many Episcopal blogs.

    But it does concern me you're on that slope.

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  31. trex... you wrote,

    "Based on the care you've taken to make your blog such a uniquely special place for genuine dialogue, I doubt you'll let your blog become yet one more ideological cul-de-sac that seems to be the inescapable fate of so many Episcopal blogs.

    But it does concern me you're on that slope."

    yes...it concerns me too. and further more I often find Allen's remarks challenging. I just think that on this one he was sliding further down that slope than was necessary. No doubt he will be back with words that get through my editorial scrim. Meanwhile, I realize I may not be following my own admonition by saying he was writing drivel.

    No one said moderating a blog was without its moments!

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  32. For all those who battle over who is leaving, may I remind you that many are coming as well. I direct you to my comments awhile back on our experience as visitors to one Episcopal Cathedral. My wife is currently splitting her time bewteen the Episcopalians and the RCs; she is a cradle RC. The explicit welcome of the Episcopal Church in the wake of Prop8, and the social justice and activism she sees in our local Cathedral, are welcome counterpoints to the hollowness and rejection ofr the Catholics. The only thing that keeps her even partly with the RCs is her deep roots in that particularl community of people. We personally know of a number of people who have left the RCs for TEC and were privileged to see a friend of ours and her family welcomed to the Cathedral membership recently.

    Some leave, sure. But others come. It's not a zero-sum game. Perhaps some of the leavers will go to my wife's RC parish and find there what she can no longer.

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  33. I would like to comment, hopefully briefly, on formation issues. I think part of the problem we are facing among the low-Church Episcopalians (Anglican-Evangelicals) is that there has been a sizable migration of American-Evangelicals into The Episcopal Church. Because of many commonalities, there is an assumption that Anglican and American Evangelicals are the same, but for a bit of pomp and circumstance. The reality is that there is a lot of difference, aside from liturgy, a couple more profound differences may regard issues around biblical literalism and that Anglicans don’t act like Congregationalists. When many of the American-Evangelicals came into The Episcopal Church, there was no real formation to demarcate the differences, so now we have Episcopalian Evangelicals acting just like American, rather than Anglican, Episcopalians – fore example, its perfectly alright to go form another denomination and think you take all the stuff with you. (I grew up and served in ministry within American-Evangelicalism for many years before becoming an Episcopalian.)

    A similar thing can be said for Roman Catholics coming into The Episcopal Church. I know this by way of the Anglo-Catholic (Prayer Book Catholic) parish in which I am serving.

    Then, there is the whole issue of formation out of the “Kingdoms of this World” and into the “Kingdom of God.” I see both socio-political Conservatives and Liberals carrying with them the baggage of our social and political systems and thinking that those systems are appropriate ways of acting/thinking/behaving within the Church, within the Body of Christ, within the Kingdom of God. Among many Episcopalian liberals or conservatives (even moderates), they don’t recognize that there is a difference between living/being as a follower of Christ and living/being as one who knows only the world-systems. The “Gospel” simply becomes a vehicle for liberal social/political exercises or for conservative social/political exercises, rather than a way to be reconciled all the way around with even our enemies – even our enemies and despite how they act toward us. It means we give up our “rights” or “life,” but in doing so we find life and dignity born of the renewing of God rather than relying on worldly assumptions. There is little formation along these lines. We are as antagonistic and judgmental and prideful as are the Republicans and Democrats in their rivalries. I think that too many of our current problems revolve around all of us tending to be/act/think more within the world-systems than within God’s system, IMHO.

    With respect to BO33 and LGBT inclusion, Africa and American, Akinoa and Jefferts-Schori, there must be a different way of doing all this stuff! Archbishop Tutu oversaw a very different way forward for South Africa, why can’t we, too? Our current, polarized methods are not working. We always need to look to a “third way” of navigating through our troubles and with one another, because I suspect by stepping back and thinking of another way of dealing with all this we may well find a path that leads to God’s Kingdom honestly being realize among us – all of us.

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  34. I agree with Bob. The central point, as far as I can see, is that - unlike the case in women's issues - that this is a brand-new issue for most people, and for that reason it's going to take some time to work itself out. I don't believe it can be compared to the movement for rights for women; those arguments didn't begin in the 1960s - they began in the 1860s. (I'd also like to point out that the first woman ordained in the Anglican Communion was not American, but Chinese - and that happened in the 1940s.)

    I agree with Bob 100% that if TEC leaves the Communion, it will have no further influence on that body - and that is not a good thing. We have a chance, now, to engage people and really change things - but let's face reality: same-sex blessings and gay bishops are simply not important issues in most places, especially where being gay - or even mentioning the word "gay"! - will land you in jail. Being gay is still problematic even in places where that doesn't happen - and overturning B033 really does nothing to address that fact. I keep wondering when TEC will - like the Anglican Church of Canada - officially distance itself from Peter Akinola for his actions in Nigeria. That hasn't happened yet, either - and we're worried about gay bishops?

    We really have the cart way, way before the horse here, IMO. (Notice, too, that "Observer" - a self-described 'conservative' - is practically chomping at the bit over this issue, and favors TEC overturning B033. That's worth thinking about, if you ask me.)

    I am gay, too, and am more than willing, as Bob suggests, to wait for these things - and for years, if necessary - if it means we can have some influence elsewhere. One reason being that an official rite of same-sex blessing in the Episcopal Church is at present worth almost nothing; it has no effect that couldn't be had in an unofficial blessing. So I can't understand the rush, frankly. What would be different if we had such an official rite? Nothing, that I can see.

    I found it interesting, too, that IT speaks about her spouse, who has already found a welcome in TEC, apparently. Now, if this is so - with B033 in effect! - what's so terrible? Gay people already know that we're welcome in TEC, and if we let others know that we're keeping B033 in place for a really good reason, I can't see how there's any negative consequence at all.

    Sometimes the perfect is the enemy of the good - and I think this really is one of those times. It's not necessary to be ideologically "pure" on this issue, when it costs us nothing - and could be really important down the road.

    I'd be good with cancelling General Convention, too, BTW. That would be swell....

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  35. Bob, something along the lines of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission? Sounds good to me.

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  36. I have posted this on my blog. They are important distictions to our church.

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  37. Bob G+ wrote: "For example, there is a push to have BO33 overturned/overruled/called moot during our upcoming GC. We know how a good part of the Communion will react, even among those who are sympathetic to our position."

    We also know that any supersession of B033 will be loudly bemoaned by those very persons who derided it in the first place as a sham. If you will be damned if you do and damned if you don't, why not just do the right thing for those persons you can immediately affect and not worry so much about ephemeral consequences to observers?

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OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with comment moderation but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.
Rule: PLEASE DO NOT SIGN OFF AS ANONYMOUS: BEGIN OR END THE MESSAGE WITH A NAME - ANY NAME. ANONYMOUS commentary will be cut.