6/12/2009

E.E.Evans draws lines in the sand re Forrester, Episcopal Church lelf to right, etc.

There is always too much to read, too much to follow, on the web and on the blogs. So I keep touch with a variety of folk left to right who in turn point to interesting articles and blogs that keep the little grey cells sparked.

BabyBlue, whose musical, poetical and literary sensibilities I admire enough to make the trip to her site regularly even when she drives me nuts on some issues, points to an article by E.E. Evans titled, Lines in the sand. I knew Elizabeth when she worked for The Episcopalian. Elizabeth Eisenstadt Evans among other things writes regularly for GetReligion. Many of the writers there are well known in Episcopal Church circles. It is very well written (of course) and challenges the various attempts (including my own) to get to the bottom of what the Forrester issue is about. Read it HERE.

She observes that,

"Doctrinally speaking, the denomination is by no means monolithic.

It includes at least this many subsets. Doctrinal conservatives (though a shrinking number) who disapprove of gay ordination and often women’s ordination. Doctrinal conservatives who are OK with ordaining women but find ordaining gay’s a bridge too far. Some who consider themselves orthodox according to the creeds (and this one is probably hardest for conservatives to fathom) who approve of ordaining gays and allowing the blessing of same sex relationships. Liberals (which certainly includes some bishops) who think a little ferment is good for the church and don’t mind losing a few phrases of the Nicene Creed. Liberals who would like to rewrite the Creeds (which apparently includes Forrester). Then there is a group who are hard to pin down on creedal orthodoxy but can’t stand bad ecclesiastical process (Forrester was the only candidate on the ballot). And I know I’ve left some people out."

BabyBlue might remind you, and I certainly will, of a grid put together by Graham Kings. See HERE for the way Graham parses the field. Additionally BabyBlue also accessed a grid that places people in a similar quadrilateral environment. See my blog on her grid HERE.

So with the Graham Kings and Baby Blue quadrilaterals in place, I propose to sketch out the E.E. Evans tape measure of Episcopal Diversity:



The bell curve seems to suggest that the most people probably fall in the creedal orthodox to process conservative lump, somewhere between "women, gay OK, don't mess with order" and "innovate, don't regurgitate" positions. Forrester's election, it appears, fell off the curve.

Still, some of us can relate. There are times when it seems meet, right and our bounden duty to "create, don't wait til its over."





6 comments:

  1. It seems to me that the great thing about apostolic succession is that it allows us to trust the Holy Spirit working through people rather than creeds and books of order. So, we allow our bishops a good deal of latitude, almost never bringing them up on ecclesiastical trials. That's why I have some sympathy for maintaining a high standard for people at times of transition -- from lay person to priest, from priest to deacon. This is a piece of the puzzle that never gets talked about -- it's entirely possible I would have no problem with Kevin Thew-Forrester as a priest, but would still deny him consecration as a bishop (I'm not necessarily saying that's the case in fact, just that I don't think that's inconsistent).

    So, the question about the graph and the bell curve is not only "where am I" but "where do we want someone we're about to entrust with all that we entrust to bishops with to be?"

    ReplyDelete
  2. So, the question about the graph and the bell curve is not only "where am I" but "where do we want someone we're about to entrust with all that we entrust to bishops with to be?"

    I think this is a crucial question.

    It has been observed that many synagogue-affiliated Jews want their rabbis to be more observant of traditional Jewish law than they themselves are ... as models of and anchors to tradition.

    Might not the same be said about Christians and their attitudes towards clergy?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thomas Cranmer, F.D. Maurice, Austin Farrer among others created and did so within rich and deep contexts of Creedal Orthodoxy. (As did St Basil in using "and" throughout rather than "to" the Father "through" the Son "in" the Holy Spirit). Pitting creativity and orthodoxy is inaccurate. We just call that creativity "development" rather than "innovation".

    ReplyDelete
  4. Mark, thanks for the kind words. My colleague Doug, who knows the Episcopal blogosphere much better than me, sent me the link. I've emailed someone in our diocese to find out why the "no" vote, but haven't gotten any answers -- yet. Are Standing Committees usually secretive about their votes -- and if so, why? Actually, I suspect that they publicize controversial votes when it suits them -- and in this case, at least in
    Pennsylvania, didn't see any gain in publicizing either the Forrester vote or Forrester himself.

    ReplyDelete
  5. "create, don't wait til its over."

    So. In other words, in your capable hands not waiting on GC and instead twisting and ignoring canons are OK (particularly re: liturgics, the meaning of marriage, etc). However, if one challenges the application of canons or points out the abuse of them, they are labelled a schismatic or disloyal.

    How DO the heads of liberals stay upright all day long when they are so swelled with self-importance and egotism?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Allen...you have used up your three minutes of particularly snitty time.

    ReplyDelete

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