6/15/2010

I have decided to practice a little gracious restraint

News item from Episcopal Cafe: Kearon to meet with Executive Council? That's Kenneth Kearon, of the Anglican Communion, etc. Don't know why the question mark. Either he is or isn't. I'm here in Baltimore now and haven't seen him, but we start tomorrow. We will see.

I know this will come as a shock to some, but here it is: Here on Preludium it occasionally happens that gracious restraint is practiced. Actually in the quiet of Preludium's study gracious restraint is practiced much of the time, and as we remember, practice does not make perfect, practice is perfect.


So for the next twenty-four hours in Executive Council land, no matter how otherwise tempted to give full rein to my ungracious tendencies I will restrain myself, thereby practicing gracious restraint. It can be done. It is a matter of control of self by self, with kudos going to God who makes all things possible.

Now, let's be clear: there are limits to graciousness and limits to restraint. Both are virtues and as with all virtues they have limits.

It is also useful to remember that as with any virtue its value is in its application:

I will practice gracious restraint by not demanding that the dinner guest who did not use the butter knife properly do so immediately or be stabbed with the same.

I
might practice gracious restraint when the bore to my left goes on and on about the art scene, only gently interrupting with the hopes of deflecting the conversation into greater mutuality.

But
I will be damned if we ought to practice gracious restraint by supporting "stepping back" from involvement with the Church because someone thinks the Church would be better off without us present. I don't believe in self - disenfranchisement.

So there it is: practice gracious restraint but don't let others pull the reins.

Otherwise it's not a virtue, its kissin' up.

At least that's how it looks from here.

21 comments:

  1. In summary... "Christian" does not mean "doormat."

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  2. The first thing necessary for any restraint, gracious or not, is an apology to the Presiding Bishop and TEC. First things first.

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  3. I am slightly confused Mark as to what you mean by 'the Church' in "But I will be damned if we ought to practice gracious restraint by supporting "stepping back" from involvement with the Church because someone thinks the Church would be better off without us present. I don't believe in self - disenfranchisement."

    Koinonia or ekklesia? :)

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  4. At least that's how it looks from here.

    Mark, that's how it looks from down heah, too. Go get 'em!

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  5. Brian Lewis16/6/10 6:39 AM

    Mark - I wonder if you can you here us cheering in England when we read things like "But I will be damned if we ought to practice gracious restraint by supporting "stepping back" from involvement with the Church because someone thinks the Church would be better off without us present. I don't believe in self - disenfranchisement." Because we are cheering! Absolutely delighted to read your commitment.
    And by the way, a handful of malcontents not withstanding (the usual suspects), KJS is very, very welcome in the Church of England

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  6. IMO, "gracious restraint" does not require us to overlook the hypocrisy of those who would punish us for being honest and open about what we do. For Kearon and +Cantaur to focus on who "formally" does what--while ignoring the real, day-to-day consequences of "informal" actions--is the rankest form of hypocrisy. I dearly hope you call him on it, given the opportunity.

    I'm thinking they must be feeling pretty desperate by now. The "girl bishop" has finally stood up and said "enough." On their home turf, she has shown the world that she follows the Gospel they seem to have forgotten.

    So hold your ground, please. Jesus hardly practiced "gracious restraint" when it came time to cleanse the temple of the thieves and victimizers who had taken it over. We are counting on you to stand up to those who would make a temple of the Anglican Communion and give control of it to 21st century robbers and bullies.

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  7. I suggest a meditation on stewardship for your restrained time. I asked this on my blog, no one picked it up but I think it is a valid question.

    "I submit it is time to re-direct the scarce funds away from the Anglican Communion. The simple fact is that the spending of money is stewardship too. If the council elects to continue its existing financial commitments to the Anglican Communion's administrative budgets it needs to explain how that is good stewardship. I do not think it can do that."

    How can it be good stewardship to send the donations given to advance the ministry of TEC to people like Dr. Williams who belittle and attack it? Why not send it directly to ACNA?

    FWIW
    jimB

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  8. Peter, I can't speak for Mark, but what I understood was ekklesia, not koinonia. Participation (or not) on "official" committees is surely a matter of institution, not of fellowship. The fact that there is no single "institution" behind these committees hasn't bothered folks before, and it saddens me that it might bother folks now; but there it is.

    I will say, too, that I have repeatedly seen Mark call for continued and increased koinonia instead of descending as a Communion into ekklesia.

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  9. Perhaps Kearon is there to hear how a seat that does not expire (the bishop rep one held by Roskham) until the next ACC meeting is to be 'transferred' over to Ian Douglas? He can also put everyone in the clear about the letter sent to the PB. We look forward to Fr Harris complete report. TOH

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  10. God always wanted me to learn how to say...NO. No to injustice, to discrimination and to feeling ¨less¨ because someone else said I must...absurd, we are personally and collectively responsible and accountable at TEC and
    +Rowan and his buddies are running as far from moral authority and common sense as they can...pandering to outcasting, marginalizing and despotic theives does nobody any good, in fact, it´s dangerous to PROMOTE ignorance in Jamaica, Uganda, Nigeria and Kenya...deadly to mind, body and soul...silence still equals death.

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  11. Don't forget Gracious Restraint Rule #1 about the never using the salad fork for the entree.

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  12. Jane Ellen+, this bear is about as gracious and restrained as any bear I've seen.

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  13. EHC: I have no doubt of it. My statement was not meant as criticism; quite the opposite. Gracious restraint is a virtue, but it needn't mean allowing the Gospel virtues to be trodden upon.

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  14. Hi Mark--Just a couple of thoughts FWIW.

    I hope that The Rev Canon Kenneth Kearon will not at any point be allowed to control and/or dominate this question and answer session and that any questions he has will be viewed by the council in advance. That's number 1.

    Number 2 is: Are we planning to give him a copy of the evidence of border crossing and make sure he reads it? Maybe we should make that a prerequisite for allowing him to come to our meeting.

    Someone over at The Lead had a list of interesting questions we should ask him.

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  15. I am certain you have already seen them, but I would love for the graciously restrained questions asked in the discussion on Episcopal Cafe to actually be asked:

    1) Now that CANA has publicly admitted its founding from an incursion by Nigeria, and Rwanda and Southeast Asia have never hidden their involvement in AMIA, will they and the other jurisdiction interveners be likewise stripped of positions?

    2) Do you seriously propose to excuse those who intervened, providing a platform for the alienation of hundreds of millions of dollars in assets and property, simply because they have now severed ties? Have you invented a statute of limitations on Windsor Moratoria violations, along with inventing your authority to sanction anyone at all?

    3) When do you plan to sanction those Provinces which violate the Dromantine anathematization of violence towards gay and lesbian people? Specifically when will Uganda and Nigeria among others be sanctioned for supporting criminalization of homosexuality?

    4) When will the Archbishop of Canterbury take any action with respect to the virulent anti-gay rhetoric issuing from some Global South Primates?

    5) When exactly will the C of E endorse the Anglican Covenant?

    6) Why is it acceptable for the CoE to bless same-sex unions and have gay bishops on the sly--but wrong for TEC to have them openly?

    7) Just how many CoE clergy have entered into same-sex partnerships? How many CoE clergy have blessed same-sex unions? Are you planning to discipline them for doing so?

    8) According to ACNA and C of N, among others, the interventions are not just at the _founding_ of CANA, AMIA, etc.Formal _jurisdiction_continues_ in most if not all of the cases. Why is TEC punished, and not those provinces?
    http://www.episcopalcafe.com/lead/anglican_communion/its_formal_cana_is_a_diocese_o.html

    9) Where does it say you have the authority to tell people to stand down? Where does the ABC have the authority to tell people to stand down from Communion committees?

    10) Are you in agreement with the ABC or just following orders?

    11) Is TEC in a state of impaired communion with the C of E because its primate is a woman. Has the C of E severed ties with churches in the Porvoo Agreement that have openly female bishops, or openly gay bishops?

    12) Which is worse, a province that is open about consecrating homosexual bishops and one that is not -- but appoints bishop it knows are gay?

    13. Will the Anglican Communion ask other churches engaged in ecumenical dialogs which have amended their understanding of marriage to apply to gay and lesbian couples (e.g. the Scandinavian Lutheran churches) to step away from those dialogs?

    14. Why was action taken only with respect to TEC members of ecumenical councils while other moratoria-noncompliant Provinces were simply asked to clarify positions, or not addressed at all?

    15. Will action now be taken against provinces (e.g. the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil) which have expressed solidarity with TEC?

    16. Exactly how far are the Secretary-General and the Abp. of Canterbury going to extend their reign of exclusion?

    17. Following up on #10, "Are you in agreement with the ABC or just following orders?," for whom do you work, to whom do you report, and whose orders/directions are binding upon you? The ABC as an individual, or the ACC collectively, through its own constitutional processes?

    bookguybaltmd

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  16. Mark--There's quite a nice list of questions over at Episcopal Cafe 'The Lead' under the item "Church Confirms Kearon's Visit" which really should be posed to your visitor. I'm confident that his ability to answer them satisfactorily will be quite restrained.

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  17. I am extremely anxious to hear about this meeting, particularly Kearon's comportment, demeanor, and attitude, the tone of voice, and his manner of address.

    He's a church-lawyer, so a politician, but not a good one - one will learn more from him than from his answers. Throw him off his stride in his expectations and you will see even more.

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  18. Jane Ellen, I agree 100%. "Gracious restraint" should never mean "wimping out."

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  19. Whether 815, the HOB, the PB or the Executive Council practices "gracious restraint" with the Communion anymore isn't even an issue. It clearly appears that others in the Communion have decided to move on or around the current TEC players' interpretations and machinations of Windsor "promises" and not play "wink wink" again and again.

    BTW: Bavid Booth Beers argued that the Anglican Communion isn't a "Church", so you won't want to use that word in this current discussion lest the Virginia trials get askewed by your admission that we are indeed part of "A Church" larger than TEC. What difference does it make that you opt out anyway? You and others in power have made it clear that you really don't care what the common mind of the Communion has devised and you've gone on and done your own thing instead. I can't see why it matters now. Maybe you just like doing your own thing but you just don't want anybody telling you that you did. That's revealing, too.

    I would definitely be very careful about further impetuous acts. The current ABC isn't long for this Communion. The next guy will clearly be much more conservative and won't suffer fools for long. Progressive idealogues have already wore out their welcome with the current liberal ABC and it looks like he's finished playing around with his fellow travelers.

    So, go ahead and "go get 'em"...

    But I don't think that they'll hang around much to be "got".

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  20. You're missing the point, Allen.

    TEC doesn't care if they hang around. We're simply clarifying for them that they have no authority here - and that can be backed up with civil court, if necessary.

    Your threats are a bit hollow.

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  21. Ah, yes, Allen is so right! Given the fact that it is beginning to dawn on TEC leaders that one must play hard-ball to win, it will indeed be interesting if the next ABC is a con-evo. Then, as Allen intimates, the gloves will be off--for our side as well! Imagine the fun we will all have as the hypocrisy of the CofE establishment is made known to the world--(with the help of some friends, like Peter Tatchell)! Yes, all of those closeted, cowardly hypocritical bishops exposed as the homos they are! A complete numerical inventory of same-sex blessings performed in specific dioceses and parishes, to the delight of Nigeria and Sydney! And, not the least, the public humiliation when the sexual escapades of holier-than-thou con-evo clergy are exposed! I can hardly wait! (And, we’re not even talking about the total TEC de-funding of the ACO, etc. yet!)

    Kurt Hill
    Brooklyn, NY

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