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Friday, July 28, 2006

After Columbus

“Columbus.”

People have begun to speak about it the way they speak about a natural disaster or war.

Say, “Tsunami,” and a vision of orphaned Shri Lankan children immediately comes to mind.

Say, “Katrina,” and you can instantly picture the devastation in Louisiana and the Gulf Coast.

Say, “Hezbollah” or “Hammas” and horrifying images of the insanity of the religious and political war in the Middle East unfold right before your eyes.

Columbus, for many of us, was like that. Like war or a natural disaster, the ripple effects continue. The rescue efforts have ceased and the recovery efforts have begun. The collateral damage continues to be assessed. And, like the healing process after such events, there is a cycle of progression and regression; remission and exacerbation.

The August newsletter from a very large, local, affluent suburban congregation came in the mail yesterday. The rector there, who professes to be an ally, wrote this: “My own view is that our response to Windsor was just right . . . in other words, we didn’t tell the rest of the Anglican Communion to drop dead, but neither did we abandon our own ecclesiastical integrity. We took the true via media option.” He then talked about a “kinder, gentler Christianity,” saying, “. . . at best we are a pastoral church.”

I don’t think I was able to draw a full breath for five minutes after that.

Excuse me if I don’t feel that I’m in the same ‘pastoral church’ in which he happens to live – at least not one that is at its best. Indeed, it feels decidedly unkind and fairly violent right now.

You will pardon me if I wince when told there is room on the Via Media because it means that people like me – and many of you – were kicked off the traditional Anglican high ground to make room for injustice and prejudice. Besides, Via Media – the middle ground – is not an ‘option’; it IS the Anglican Way.

I beg your forgiveness if I take exception with my brother’s claim that we did not “abandon our own ecclesiastical integrity.” Well, perhaps we didn’t abandon it completely; we just compromised it a bit, along with our commitment to our baptismal vows. You know – the one about “respecting the dignity of every human being.” Oh, yeah. That one.

I’m reminded of some of the deputies at General Convention – some of our best straight allies, including one sincere, well-intentioned deputy from my diocese – who said to me and anyone else who might listen, over and over until I thought I might go mad, “I voted for (resolution) B033 with tears in my eyes.”

I suppose I’m to infer that those tears are meant for me. I suppose I’m to take some comfort in those tears. Well, I didn’t. Still don’t. I want to say this as loudly and as clearly as I possibly can to every last one of you who said that to me: Some of you voted like a delegate, not a deputy. Whether you care to admit it or not, you voted your constituency rather than your conscious which is what you were elected to do.

Others of you voted with your heart, not your head. What ever possessed you to vote for a woman you thought competent and strong enough to be Presiding Bishop, but suddenly felt she needed resolution B033, which she herself found, “exceedingly challenging” to be accepted at Lambeth and in the rest of the Anglican Communion?

If you are honest, these are the real reason for your tears. At the very least, please have the decency to admit that you were not crying for me. You were crying because it always hurts when you sacrifice your own integrity and intelligence on the altar of good intentions.

In some ways, our church is a reflection of what is happening in our country. My friend, Lane Denson, recently wrote in his online reflections Out of Nowhere: "The newscasters say we're sending bombs to Israel and medical aid to Lebanon. The president says that stem cell research is taking human life, and that killing 40,000 Iraqi citizens is promoting democracy. What are we supposed to do, smile, take up ironyng, and sing God Bless America?"

There’s a lot of talk in many circles of The Episcopal Church as a ‘constituent member’ of the Anglican Communion in the aftermath of Columbus which uses the sports metaphor of ‘team’. In our country, the preferred metaphor is ‘patriot.’ If you do not cave into the demands for conformity, you are not a ‘team player’ and therefore, not a good Christian, much less a good Episcopalian or (talk of irony) classical Anglican. If you do not mindlessly rubber stamp the present administration’s policy, you are not a good patriot and therefore, not a good American.

It continues to amaze me that the growing analysis of what happened in “Columbus” is that “the diverse center held.” What absolute nonsense! What happened is that most of the Left and the Right, as well as the Middle, caved into strong-arming and emotional manipulation from ‘above’ – as well as ‘across the pond.’

After Columbus and the intellectually insulting, ethically bankrupt, and ultimately cowardly language of “manner of life” in B033, after the announcement from Lambeth about a Covenant Process which assures Episcopalians of the status of ‘downstairs maid,’ after the pronouncement from Nigeria that The Episcopal Church is ‘a cancerous lump in the Body’, the question begs to be answered:

Were we so blinded by our earnest desire to give our newly elected Presiding Bishop what she, after only 72 hours, thought she needed, our determined optimism as Christians who are Americans, our confused tears about the intent of our choices, our desperate longing to belong to something bigger than ourselves, that we missed the trees of justice for the forest of uniformity?

There remains a great deal of work to be done, after Columbus. There are many lessons still to be learned, after Columbus. There remains the reconstruction and the rebuilding.

But first, you cry – for the ways in which we betrayed ourselves and each other – and God.

You bury the dead – the hopes and the dreams and ideals of this church, secure in the promises of new life in the resurrection of Jesus.

You allow yourself to mourn – to enter into the myriad of emotions known to the grieving process, including denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance trusting the Holy Spirit to carry you through.

And then, you wipe your tears, blow your nose, pick up your socks, and get on with the work of mission and ministry.

The Gospel promise calls us to do no less. And, even after Columbus – no, especially after Columbus, as at any other time of devastation – the call of the Gospel, the imperatives of the Gospel have never been more important.

34 comments:

... said...

Wow, Elizzbeth+. THANK YOU for saying so well what I have been feeling.

Jeffrey

Lisa said...

Powerful, powerful words, Elizabeth. Again, you make me cry and you give me some hope. Thank you!

But you're right about the need for rebuilding. Forgive what may be a long story:

After Columbus, and because of Columbus, I took a sabbatical from TEC. But I found myself in the city after a month, in which was a marvelous Spirit-filled church (and Oasis parish) I had visited a couple of times before. I thought this might be just the moment to return to TEC, and I did -- but wearing my brand-spanking new t-shirt that says, "My manner of life is a challenge to the wider church." It was a good day.

Then I stopped in at a Starbucks, before starting the 2+ hour drive home, and the young man (college-age, I'd guess) at the register saw my shirt as I approached the counter. He didn't even greet me as he obviously, slowly read my t-shirt.

Then he looked up to my face, greeted me, and sadly said, "Episcopalian?" Yes, I returned with equal sadness.

"I had never gone to church, but I just found the Episcopal Church a year ago," he told me quietly. "I thought I'd found a home. But I don't go anymore, after Columbus."

After Columbus.

And I stood there with tears welling up. As was he. And I needed to say something, to encourage him that it is our home. But I couldn't do it with any conviction. I simply said, "I know. Today was my first day back. I had to wear this shirt for armor. But it's hard. It's hard."

Then like you suggested, we shook off the tears, he got my latte, and as I left, I said again, "But please try to come back."

This is the way the gays leave.
This is the way the gays leave.
Not with a bang, but a wimper.

... said...

Oh my, Lisa. Wow.

I do so hope he comes back to TEC. Maybe if he went to Trinity...

(btw, I added a link to your blog to my page)

Elizabeth+, sorry for the spelling... I obviously didn't proofread.

-Jeffrey

Lisa said...

Yes, Jeffrey, I did tell him about Trinity and what happened there for me that morning. But he lives out in West County, and his pain seemed so deep, I'm just not optimistic that he'll come back.

As the angry conservatives have made their declarations and announced their leave-takings since Columbus, they have done it with a loud slamming of the door. What worries me is how many people who began to explore our church since GC03 are now just quietly slipping away ... like this young man.

revsusan said...

Amen, sweetie!

Padre Wayne said...

Elizabeth wrote: "After Columbus and the intellectually insulting, ethically bankrupt, and ultimately cowardly language of “manner of life” in B033..."

...not to mention ecclesiastically unsound and a denial of the work of the Holy Spirit...

We said, "Well, we'll ordain gay men and women as deacons and priests, but then we'll put a lid on their elevation for a while." In the meantime, hardworking men and women -- diocesan convention delegates, laypeople and clergy, members of standing committees and bishops -- may not follow their conscience and must close their ears -- and hearts -- to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

OTOH, we might have (as we surely have in the past) well qualified clergy who say, "I feel called to lead this diocese as a bishop. I'm going to set my integrity on the back burner for a while and return to (or stay in) the closet." (Fortunately or un-, women and people of color do not have that option... even though their "manner of living" might present a challenge to the wider Communion.)

And speaking of "manner of living"... The ordination and/or elevation of women is an affront to the mysogenist theology of many in the Communion, but to include them in this caution, it seems to me, would have forced us to say, instead, "manner of being." Ergo... while the language appears deliberately ambiguous (wink wink, we won't say "gay people") (much less, "practicing" homosexuals) it is clear to me that the subtext is unequivocal. It's about gay men and lesbians who are living their love to the fullest.

And therefore it is all about us. The glass ceiling has been reglazed and reinstalled.

Can we get back to living the Gospel?

The Western Seminarian said...

"intellectually insulting, ethically bankrupt, and ultimately cowardly language of “manner of life”"

Now tell us how you REALLY feel. :)

Thanks for saying this. I think that this was unquestionably a step backwards, but there will be more steps, steps that go forward, and this aberration will be washed away and forgotten.

Joe 2:25 And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten

TWS

Fr. John said...

Thank you for these words Elizabeth. And for holding me through the first wave of tears as the close of convention. I still find myself rattled by the experience of Convention, but at the same time feel renewed passion for the work ahead. Something died, and something is being reborn. Perhaps it is our faith.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

The responses I've gotten - both on this blog as well as privately -only confirm for me that I am spot on.

What amazes me, however, is that my conservative friends (yes, I have them) are feeling much the same way.

I am, therefore, convinced that something evil happened in Columbus. Something very, very evil.

I think that, whenever mediocrity is the furthest one can reach, whenever double-speak is the common language and justice is obstructed by good intention, there is ample evidence of evil lurking about.

Oh, and one last thing: John, my brother, the greatest honor I experienced in the midst of most of the horror that was "Columbus" was the rare privilege of holding you as you cried.

Because, my sweet, dear friend, you may not have been aware, but you held me as I cried.

It is in such crucibles that real friendships in Christ are forged.

I am humbled by your trust in me.

Padre Wayne said...

Dear John, dear Elizabeth,
Perhaps your tears were waters of baptism... perhaps we are, indeed, being born into a new thing? Not a new thing that replaces our Lord, but a new thing that causes rejoicing in heaven.

Bateau Master said...

Imagine your pain from Columbus ... for us in the traditionalist crowd we know the hurt. But 2006 was a cake walk compared to 2003 ... just more strange stuff different convention.

So if there was evil lurking in Ohio .... he is an ancient beast and has infected many conventions. He will always be there .... keep watch, for until we admit we are powerless to his influence without God's help and ask for both forgiveness and strength ... evil will rule the day.

... said...

To those who felt pain in 2003, I ask: from which sacraments were you barred by the actions of GC03?

plsdeacon said...

Elizabeth,

I have asked several of my reappraising brothers and sisters to justify changing the moral teaching on this and to use biblical and traditional support. So far, none have done this. Can you show me a biblical example of God blessing homosexual sex? Can you show in tradition where it was called blessed?

It is not the orientation that is a bar to ordination, it is calling "sin" "not sin." It is saying that God blesses homosexual sex when Scripture is unequivocally against homosexual sex and calls it "sin" every time it is addressed.

Please help me understand your moral thinking on this. From where I sit, it seems to be "There are several people who naturally are attracted to members of the same sex, so God must have created them that way and homosexual sex (in the right contexts) is good and blessed."

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Phil,

If you earnestly desire to learn more about this and you are not, as I suspect, consciously or unconsciously, attempting to entice me into yet another exhausting, futile exercise in scriptural gymnastics, then please do me the favor of having done more than check with a few of your "reappraiser" friends.

See, as soon as you use terms like 'reappraiser," I'm immediately suspicious of your motives.

But then again, as a liberation theologian, as with other members of the oppressed minority, I operate on a hermeneutic of suspicion.

I am a Christian who considers herself conservative on ecclesiology and progressive on issues of social justice.

If being a 'liberal' to you means that 'anything goes', well, that ain't me, kid. Just ask any of my liberal friends - most of whom just shake their heads at me in utter dismay.

I have no idea what it means to be a "reappraiser". I suspect it's sort of like being a "feminist." To quote an early activist, "I only know that I am called a feminist when I refuse to be treated like a doormat."

I only know that I am called a "reappraiser" when I refuse to accept what someone else defines as "orthodoxy," or their image of God and their image of Jesus.

I think there is a word for that, Phil. It's called idolotry.

In case you weren't aware - the church - our church - has been in dialogue about the issue of human sexuality in general and homosexuality in particular for over thirty years.

Volumes - VOLUMES, Phil! - have been written.

Check it out. There are very recent entries for your edification.

Go to the IntegrityUSA.org website. Check out the Theology Statement that, oh, BTW, I helped to write, for the Blessing of Same Sex Relationships.

Go to Claimingtheblessing.org and watch the video Voices of Witness.

Go to the archives of TEC and see what some specially created commissions have studied and said.

Go to the General Convention web site and read the response to The Windsor Report: "To set our minds on Christ."

Read something - anything - of what's been written about what scripture really says about homosexuality.

Peter Gomes' THE GOOD BOOK is as easily accessible as any and makes the point that it is easier to justify slavery and the oppression of women by reading the bible than it is to condemn homosexuality.

Then, Phil, once you have done your homework and if you still want to have a discussion with me - let's not do this in cyberspace.

Contact me privately at the church (stpauls@stpaulschatham.org)- I'll give you my cell phone number - we'll figure out where to meet - and we'll talk like the Christians we say we are.

I've been at this too long and am so very weary of well intentioned but ultimately empty rhetoric which tries to pass itself off as "dialogue" and "conversation."

There's too much of mission and ministry which the gospel demands and this dark, broken world needs for us to waste time playing polite games with each other.

Greg Griffith said...

By the way, Liz, it's spelled "Hamas," not "Hammas." It's a terrorist organization, not a dip.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thanks for that.

BTW, Greg, it's "Elizabeth" never - ever the presumption of - "Liz".

I'm a priest, not a movie star.

I know. In the Episcopal Church these days, it's often hard to tell the difference.

Marty said...

So let me get this straight, anyone who takes the bible seriously is now to be considered an Idolater???? Isn't that what you just said to Phil?

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

No, Marty, here's what I said to Phil:

"I only know that I am called a "reappraiser" when I refuse to accept what someone else defines as "orthodoxy," or their image of God and their image of Jesus.

I think there is a word for that, Phil. It's called idolotry."

Ah, that would have been idolatry if this service had word check.

See, YOUR understanding of scripture is no more "serious" than mine - and I am as serious as a heart attack about scripture.

If you think what you understand of scripture is the ONLY serious interpretation, and you insist that it is the ONLY way to understand scripture, well, there's a word for that.

Idolatry is one.

Arrogance is another.

Oh, here's another good one:

Violence.

We do violence to scripture and to each other whenever we use Holy Words as a club or a weapon.

When I need someone to interpret scripture for me, like the Ethiopian Eunuch, I'll ask.

Now, here's five cents worth of unsolicited advice:

Go outside and get some fresh air.

Take an apple with you and eat it as you walk, it's good for you.

Stop worrying about what I think scripture says and look around your neighborhood to see if you can find a story from the gospel unfolding right before your eyes.

It won't take long. It's happening even now.

Then, stop concerning yourself with what I'm doing or thinking and whether it's right or wrong, good or bad, serious or frivilous, and respond to what Jesus is calling you to do.

I'm sitting here on the deck in my wee little vacation cottage called Llangollen, watching my 82 year old neighbor getting ready to pull crabs from the Bay.

I'm going to go help him.

I think Jesus said something about, "when you do this for the least of these, you do it to me."

Marty said...

Gotcha. So did you or did you not "do violence" to Mr. Synder by implying that he was an idolater?

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Marty,

You boys over at T19 and Drells Descants just love to sort fly poop from pepper, don't you?

Snarky rhetoric is the new false god - spawned, no doubt, from the false gods of The Windsor Report and the Anglican Communion.

It's like David Anderson's response when asked why he stays in TEC. You may recall that he said on national television, "Because I love a good fight."

See my advice to Marty.

BTW, my neighbor had 12 - count them 12 huge BLUE crabs in his pot. I'm cooking them up now. We'll have crab cakes for supper. Yum.

... said...

Now, here's five cents worth of unsolicited advice...

Elizabeth+, you're a much needed reality check and a continuous breath of fresh air.

Thank you,
Jeffrey

Craig Goodrich said...

I think that, whenever mediocrity is the furthest one can reach, whenever double-speak is the common language and justice is obstructed by good intention, there is ample evidence of evil lurking about.

Well-said, Elizabeth -- though I personally would add something about Truth and self-absorbed desires -- e.g. at GC06 the obvious horror of the majority of bishops at the thought of missing the next Lambeth, though of course other less specific examples come to mind...

plsdeacon said...

Elizabeth,

A couple of things. I used the terms "Reappraiser" and "Reasserter" because they are not emotionally laden. Neither implies the other is wrong. A "reappraiser" is someone who is reappraising (or reexamining) the moral teaching of the Church - especially on sexual expression. A "reasserter" is one who "reasserts" the moral teaching of The Church - especially on sexual expression

How you can claim to be "conservative on ecclesiology" while ignoring the unified and historical condemnation of homosexual acts by the universal Church is beyond me. I have read the documents you mentions (well, most of them) and their arguments underwhelm me. They sound like so much of the rationalization that I do for my own sins. I am not ignorant of the arguments. I wanted your reasoning on the issue - how you came to your decision in the face of scriptural, traditional evidence to the contrary as well as the unifed voice of the Anglican "Instruments of Unity" asking us not to proceed with consecrating +Robinson.

Yes, the Church has spent much time discussing this topic and everytime (until either 2000 or 2003, depending on how you read certain resolutions), a decision was reached, that decision stated that homosexual sex was not blessed and that the Church should not bless same sex unions nor ordain those living in a same sex sexual relationship. A person with "conservative ecclesiology" would look at that and agree that the Church teaching is what it is and then strive to follow it. A person of conscience would, if he or she could not teach what the Church teaches, resign any position of leadership that requires teaching what the Church teaches. You did not do that.

I see that you are not willing to display these arguments or to provide Scriptural or Traditional support for your views. Perhaps because they don't exist.

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

My brother in Christ, Phil,

Perhaps the new language coined by Kendall Harmon is not "emotionally laden" for you, but I assure you, it is for me.

These are bogus terms. They have no theological history or standing. They are political terms contrived and conceived by someone who has the incomprehensible hubris to say that I don’t know Jesus and that my faith is "counterfeit."

Excuse me if I don't allow use of that foul language in this space.

I think the absolute height of arrogance is for you to look at documents which have been worked on for years - including the theology statement of Claiming the Blessing - and dismiss them as (what did you say?) "sound(ing) like so much of the rationalization that I do for my own sins."

And now, here, for you, 'his majesty," I'm to give my own "reasoning on the issue - how you came to your decision in the face of scriptural, traditional evidence to the contrary as well as the unifed voice of the Anglican "Instruments of Unity" asking us not to proceed with consecrating +Robinson."

Umm . . . do you think I have nothing else to do with my time but to respond personally to you?

Especially when you and I know that NOTHING I say will persuade you?

Please, don't even try to convince me that you are intentional about a serious conversation. You, like David Anderson, stay in the Episcopal Church because “you like a good fight.”

Sorry, I love Jesus way more than that. I’ve got too much He wants me to do to get into a word fight or a useless exercise in scriptural gymnastics for that foolishness.

If and when you are serious about a conversation, I have already told you what to do: Call my office. Get my number. We'll talk – I’ll even try to arrange a face to face meeting – like the Christians we say we are.

Otherwise, go lurk about T19 or Drell’s Descants where you can be with people who think and act and pray as you do and all will be well with your world.

Or, even better - turn off your computer and take a walk. There's a ton of stuff Jesus has waiting for you do to - if you just open your eyes and see scripture unfolding before you.

Peace be with you, Phil.

Marty said...

In other words, "you've got nothin".

"Please, don't even try to convince me that you are intentional about a serious conversation. You, like David Anderson, stay in the Episcopal Church because “you like a good fight.”"

My, what a broad brush you like to paint people with... very Christian of you dear.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Okay, boys and girls, here's the deal.

Someone tipped me off to a little service which helps me track the number of visitors I get to this site.

What I didn't realize is that it also helps me track where the visitors are from as well as the origin of their post.

Turns out that "Your Brother in Christ Phil" is only a brother in Christ by baptism, by certainly not by spirit - which is pretty mean, low down and nasty.

He is a Deacon in Plano, Tx who has a website called STAND FIRM.

Turns out, he has been baiting me, which I knew all along and why I would not answer him directly, so that he can reprint my comments and let others, like Marty here, have an absolute "bottom feeders" banquet.

Bottom feeders, of course, are those fish in the tank that survive - indeed, thrive - on all the "garbage" (ahem) cast off by all the other fish in the tank.

It's amazing. Honestly.

Put on your asbestos pumps and venture forth into the LaLa Land of the Neo-Orthodox and 'see how these Christians love one another.'

Not!

http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/site/article/945/

Did I mention that neither Marty nor Phil took me up on my offer to have an authentic conversation? You know, like REAL Christians?

Needless to say, we won't be hearing from brother Phil or brother Marty again - not in this space, anyway.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Oh wait - the website is maintained by Greg Griffith, AKA, "The Keeper of the Bottom Feeders," who also won't be posting here anymore.

And, Greg, it's Elizabeth. Not "Liz." But, I've already spoken to you about this.

... said...

Thanks for the update, Elizabeth+. I can't say I'm at all surprised. While I think I'll pass (for now) on the invitation to go slumming over at Phil's, I imagine I'll wander back there now and again (I've been there before - it ain't pretty and it certainly has nothing to do with Christ.)

Tangent: I should probably post this over in the love letter entry, but I wanted to thank you for posting the story about the love letters you write for children you baptise. Your entry served as a springboard for me to explore a bit more about what's troubling me as well as what keeps drawing me to our beloved Episcopal Church.

Your (imperfect, but still trying) brother in Christ,
Jeffrey

Jake said...

I see you discovered the game. When they're at a loss for posts, Stand Firm uses one of ours as a dart board.

"Keeper of the Bottom Feeders"...heh...we call him the Grand Inquisitor. Long story, similar result.

Lisa said...

Phil asked: Can you show me a biblical example of God blessing homosexual sex? Can you show in tradition where it was called blessed?

I’m not Elizabeth, but I can’t resist stepping in.

Let me turn the table.

Can you show me a single biblical example of God blessing heterosexual sex? I know God urged humanity to populate the earth, when it needed populating. But as far as I can see, the New Testament authors tolerate it as a "necessary evil."

Please don't tell me about God’s generally voting “yes” on procreation. I’ll counter that God also votes “yes” on loving, faithful relationships.

But can you point me to the passages where God blesses the acts that a husband and wife do in their marital bed?

A lot of folks have obsessed about "homosexual acts." So please quote me chapter and verse about which heterosexual acts God has expressly blessed.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

First: My apologies to you, Phil, for confusing you with Greg Griffith, the person responsible for STAND FIRM. I would send this to him if he had the courage to post his email or correspond to me direct. Why am I not surprised? You are free to share this with him.

Second: Let me clear up a fundamental confusion: My blog is a place where I post my thinking and musing. It began as a place to share with my congregation my experience of General Convention. I know this sounds absolutely implausible, but I had no idea what I was getting myself into. That being said, I find that some folk are interested in my writing and thinking. I find that deeply humbling if not completely surprising and most of the comments help me to reconsider facets of the topic I had not considered. For that, I am grateful.

Third: My blog is NOT the place I do "dialogue." I have found cyberspace to be singularly antithetical to any attempts at genuine conversation. For many folk, they are only engaged from the ears up. Genuine conversation involves two people who are engaging their whole heart and mind and strength and soul - not to mention body language and facial expressions. That's just not going to happen in cyberspace - see STAND FIRM, T19, and Drell's Descants where most everyone is just snarky, rude and childish. Even T19 has elves to monitor and pull conversation.

So, you are not "blocked." I chose not to post your last comment. I am monitoring conversation - not unlike Kendall's Blog - which is what I understand Blogs allow you to do. Blogs are not a democracy. Neither are Blogs church. Blogs - a 'weblog' as I understand it - are places where one can express oneself and engage others - or not - as one chooses. Which is also why people who leave comments can do so without any means to contact them - like Mr. Griffith.

Fourth: I do not apologize for the terms "bottom feeder" and "mean, low down and nasty" in application to those who post on STAND FIRM. One woman's sexual innuendo about the term made me - even me! - blush.

Sweet Jesus, where do these people come from?

Someone else thought it was "fair" in exchange to call me "Lizzie the Lezzie." How old are these people? I haven't been teased with that taunt since I was in the sixth grade!

And they consider themselves Christian? How deeply ironic that this is the part of TEC that wants people like me to leave so they can be "pure" and "orthodox." Oh, but perhaps that makes me sound "huffy." What was it Mr. Griffith called me, "St. Elizabeth of the Perpetually Huffy"? To which there were delighted giggles.

How old are these people?

I again apologize for my confusing you with Mr. Griffith and the rest of the Stand Firm folk. Clearly, yours is the voice of moderation in that place. But, as my grandmother used to caution, "If you lay down with dogs, you may get up with fleas."

Finally, Phil, for the last time: I appreciate your sincere expression to better understand my understanding of the authority of scripture vis a vis my 30 year relationship with my partner and the family we have built, but I'm simply not going to engage in this conversation with you in cyberspace.

Jesus did not change hearts about the tax collectors or prostitutes or any of the other folk the Pharisees found unsavory by writing theological texts. He ministered among them, broke bread with them, and loved them.

Neither you nor I bring any honor to our vocations by having a pedantic, rhetorical exchange in cyberspace. Show me how you love Jesus and I'll show you how I love Jesus. Perhaps our theologies won't change, but the world will be served, the church will be edified, and praise and glory will be given to God.

I don't know about you, but that's enough for me.

GL+ said...

"I would send this to him if he had the courage to post his email"

Greg Griffith's e-mail is readily available:

http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/member/1/

GL+ said...

Mother Elizabeth said:
"My blog is a place where I post my thinking and musing. It began as a place to share with my congregation my experience of General Convention. …
Third: My blog is NOT the place I do "dialogue." I have found cyberspace to be singularly antithetical to any attempts at genuine conversation."

In an earlier post, you referred (or someone else did - can't remember) to this as being like your "living room." Sorry, it just doesn't work that way on the Internet.

May I suggest that, since blogs are (by nature) very public, that you consider 1 or 2 options. Communication with your parish that would not be subject to public comment could be done by a dedicated e-mail list (like the HoB/D). Secondly, you can always turn off the comments feature on a blog page. That way you need not be annoyed by people trying to dialogue or express their own opinions. Third, or course, is the way you are doing it - deleting comments that you don't like. The problem I have with that is people then PERCEIVE you as being closed-minded.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

One final comment and then, the comments on this topic are officially closed.

This is my blog, so I get the last say. Say what you want on your own blog. - I have no doubt you will but I won't be reading it, so I don't really care.

My final comment is this: Greg, I don't CARE how YOU say it works in cybersace. This is MY space and I get to say how it works.

Well, wait a minute - some snarky woman "Cat 'n Mouse" just snarked at me.

This one says horrible things with overt sexual inuendos and then says I'm not Christian for using the term "bottom feeders" to those who are clearly, well, bottom feeders.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000.

bottom feeder

NOUN: 1. A fish or other animal that feeds on the bottom of a body of water. 2. One that feeds low on the food chain; a scavenger. 3. Slang a. An opportunist who profits from the misfortunes of others OTHER FORMS: bottom feeding —NOUN
bottom-feeding (btm-fdng) —ADJECTIVE

If the shoe fits, as they say, wear it.

It's fascinating, these rules in cyberspace. Reminds me of the John Irving novel, Cider House Rules.

Okay. This thread is officially over. No more comments.

Done.