Come in! Come in!

"If you are a dreamer, come in. If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a Hope-er, a Pray-er, a Magic Bean buyer; if you're a pretender, come sit by my fire. For we have some flax-golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in!" -- Shel Silverstein

Monday, May 12, 2008


Well, the Archbishop of Canterbury has written a Pentecost letter.

I'm trying to get my head wrapped around the ABC's request that every bishop come to Lambeth with a serious attitude about the Windsor Report in general and the development of an Anglican Covenant in particular.

The Windsor Report RECOMMENDATIONS have been broken more often by its supporters/proponents than its critics/opponents.

TEC did not make any promises we knew we couldn't keep. General Convention was force fed and agreed to B033; and while a few diocese have nominated GLBT candidates for bishop, thus far, we have kept our promise.

Gene Robinson, duly elected and consecrated bishop of NH, has not been invited to Lambeth.

The Primates of the Southern Cone, Nigeria and Uganda (and a few others I can't recall this very red hot second), have crossed borders with impunity in violation of the RECOMMENDATIONS of The Windsor Report.

So far, Canterbury has not only remained silent on these violations, the offending bishops have been invited to Lambeth.

I have not heard if the former TEC bishops who have been deposed have had their invitations rescinded by the ABC, but I tend to doubt it. And, two bishops whose dioceses have taken first steps to abandon the communion of TEC for another communion have announced their intention to honor their invitations and be present at Lambeth.

If the ABC is serious only about certain Windsor Report RECOMMENDATIONS, but not about others, why should anyone else take it seriously?

So, it comes as no surprise that there is little or no trust in this and many quadrants of the communion, especially for that which is proclaimed from Lambeth Palace.

When I have a family in counseling where trust has been jeopardized or damaged, I couldn't begin to imagine discussing any kind of 'covenant' until I am able to make an assessment of the nature and extent of the damage, find some strands of hope, and test out some strategies to begin to repair and rebuild trust.

To do otherwise is like unto suggesting to a couple whose marriage is in trouble that having a(nother) baby would solve their problems. Or, to a couple with profound differences that entering into a covenant of marriage would help them find common ground and live happily ever after.

Or, more pointedly, it would be like a doctor, listening to a patient complain of persistent pain prescribe morphine to treat the symptoms of the pain without doing any tests or assessments to treat the cause of the pain.

I honestly don't know if the eventual establishment of a Covenant would be a good or bad thing for the Anglican Communion. I certainly have my doubts. In any event, it is much, much too soon to tell. There is much too much preliminary ground work to be done.

If the ABC can't even invite an honestly gay bishop to a conference which has been "talking" about a "listening process" since 1988, while there will be in attendance closeted gay bishops, polygamous bishops, bishops who cross diocesan and provincial boundaries without regard for the Windsor RECOMMENDATIONS, bishops who are in open rebellion to the authority of their own Presiding Bishop because of her gender and "theology", and bishops who are, no doubt scoundrels of all sort and variety, how in the name of heaven can the ground be considered ready for the establishment of a Covenant?

Besides which, how can a Covenant be seriously discussed, much less seriously considered or entered into, with only 1/4 of the baptized orders of ministry (laity, deacons, priests, bishops) in attendance?

It's simply, seriously madness.


June Butler said...

Random thoughts:

"Farce" is the word that increasingly comes to mind when I think of Lambeth.

The covenant will not be a good thing.

Despite violations of Windsor by a goodly number of provinces in various ways, only the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada have been chastised.

You make a very good point that the motley crew assembled at Lambeth will be in no state to even consider a covenant.

Abp. Williams says, "Each day's work in this context will go forward with careful facilitation and preparation, to ensure that all voices are heard (and many languages also!)." That is, except Bp. Robinson's. Mind-boggling.

Bill said...

Unless I missed a few classes, it seems to me that Covenants come from God to Man and not the other way around.
Now I know Rowan thinks highly of himself but I haven’t heard that he was deified.

The Main Covenants Of Yahweh
"A covenant is a sovereign pronouncement of God by which He establishes a relationship of responsibility (1) between himself and an individual, (2) between Himself and mankind in general, (3) between Himself and a nation, or (4) between Himself and a specific human family
I. The Edenic Covenant from God to Man
II. The Adamic Covenant from God to Man
III. The Noahic Covenant from God to Noah
IV. The Abrahamic Covenant from God to Abraham
The Covenant With Abraham Is Restated And Confirmed To Isaac By The Lord
The Covenant With Abraham Is Restated And Confirmed To Jacob By The Lord
V. The Mosaic Covenant from God to Moses
VII. The Davidic Covenant from God to David
VIII. The New Covenant From Jesus to All Mankind.

So I guess this Anglican Covenant will be handed down from Rowan to the Anglican Communion. We should probably all book hotels somewhere near Mount Sinai for the event.

Maggie said...

Preach it sister! Amen.

Jim said...

Dr. Williams really is as eletist as his approach suggests I fear. Layity? Priests? Deacons? Next you will suggest women have voices, or que... um, persons with different orrientations.


And then, the idea that some of those peasants might actually have something important to contribute?

Pleeze, most of them have not even attended Cambridge!


Hiram said...

"while there will be in attendance closeted gay bishops, polygamous bishops..."

Names, please -- and if you cannot give names, you are simply engaging in tendentious innuendo.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Um, Hiram, it's not called "the closet" for nothing. And, I personally have not engaged in - do not endorse engaging in - "outing" someone, no matter how frustrated and angry I get with them. But, I personally know 4 bishops in the Communion who are gay.

In terms of polygamous bishops, there are people in those provinces who tell us that their bishops have wives. However, they and their bishops engage in duplicity about it because to do otherwise would be to hurt the "extra wives."

Hiram said...

Regarding gay bishops: are these four you know of celibate or sexually active? If they simply have an attraction to members of their own sex, but do not act upon it, there is no problem for reasserters; they are living in obedience to the teachings of Scripture. I know that there is a bishop in the Indian Ocean who admittedly has an attraction to members of his own sex -- but he is not living with a partner. And there is another bishop in England who also has same-sex attraction and who (apparently) acted upon that attraction in the past, but does so no longer.

The rumor of polygamous bishops in Africa is as long-lived as any urban legend -- but it is all based on stories from a FOAF, as urban legends are.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Hiram, The "closet" is not just a euphamism. It's very, very real. The bishops I spoke with at Lambeth 1998 were bereft with guilt and shame, leading clandestine lives. I did not count the Bishop of the Indian Ocean, but, if you believe him, you probably believe, like some women I've known, that you can only be "a little bit pregnant."

As for the polygamous bishops, well, how do you fight against duplicity when it is in service of protecting other women?

Want proof? Just ask anyone who has lived in the closet and has made the decision not to do that anymore.

Take, for example, Bishop Paul Moore . . .Many people were shocked, SHOCKED, I tell you, to learn that he was gay. Others of us knew for many, many years.

Or, Bishsop Otis Charles. Or Bishop Fred Wolfe. Or, Bishop Phillips Brooks. Those are just the ones I can name without even breaking a sweat.

Life is rarely lived in simple broad strokes of black and white. Indeed, many people live in shades of gray - and, for them, life can be a living hell.

Bill said...

Hiram said... "Regarding gay bishops: are these four you know of celibate or sexually active?"

Dear God, that is nobody's business but their own. I don't walk around asking heteros if their sexually active. Has anybody walked up to Rowan and asked him about his sex life. Has anybody asked his wife if he's good in bed. No, it's simply not done. At least it's not done in polite society. But if your Gay, people think they can ask those questions.

Kirkepiscatoid said...

You know, I think it goes even deeper than teh gay thing. I think it's about that our governance is as much "bottom up" as "top down", including the opinion of the lay folk in the interpretation of Scripture, and this annoys the hell out of the more autocratic factions of the AC. They want it to be more "top down" for matters of control. So the issue of same sex relationships makes a great scapegoat because it is an emotional hot button.

Lindy said...

Right on Reverend Kaeton!

You're a saint for the way you deal with Hiram.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Sweet Jesus! You're absolutely right, Bill. I've gotten so numb to the arrogance of heterosexism that I don't even flinch anymore. What any two people do in the intimate privacy of their relationship is none of ANYONE's business.

No more, Hiram. No more will I entertain the question of whether or not someone is "sexually active." It's none of your damn business.

We're done here.

Jim said...

I know bishops who are blatant heterosexuals and no one outs them. Really, Hiram, don't you feel a bit embarrassed when you pry?

Yes, I know a gay bishop, and no, I am not going to violate confidences shared with a straight friend. And yes I know lesbian / gay priests and those too private things shared.

Frankly, it should not be this way. Those men and women should not have to hide, it is shame to you and your fellow travelors Hiram, that they do.

One need only look at the snide, nasty invective poured on Bp. Robinson to see what damage "reasserters" do to honest people. The 'closet' is not a gay/lesbian invention.


Hiram said...

This is very interesting -- I say that I take the Bp of the Maldives (I think that this is the bishop I referred to earlier) at his word. Then I am told a) that I am naive; and b) that I am sticking my nose into business that is not mine. It can't be both.

Of course I do not ask total strangers about their sex lives; it is not my place to do so. I would not dream of talking with any married couple about such things unless they came to me for pastoral counseling.

But there are both canonical and biblical standards involved in deciding who is qualified to be ordained, and being sexually active only within a heterosexual marriage has been the standard over the entire history of the Church. When a person presents himself or herself for ordination, that person opens the door to questions about how he or she lives. For the last couple of decades, it has been common in the Episcopal Church, and also in other "mainline" churches to ignore sexual behavior as a criterion for being fit for ordination. It certainly appears that those who want this area have prevailed (in the sense of having the organization on their side) in this matter -- but there are many in the Episcopal Church, and far many more in the larger Anglican Communion who are convinced that the ancient standards are correct.

The question is -- has God said that sexual behavior irrelevant to one's fitness for ordained ministry. Many here seem to think that it is. I am not in a place (such as a commission on ministry) where I have the right to ask that kind of question of potential ordinands. But I do argue that the ancient biblical and canonical standards are correct.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Hiram, You can argue about the correctness of the biblical texts till the cows come home, but that does not give you or any member of the COM to inquire about the sexual intimacies of people - lay or ordained.

As for your other comments: Welcome to the land of "Shades of Gray."

It's where most of the Beloved of God live our lives.

Jake said...

When folks with Hiram's preoccupation drop in, I find that a few recipes often help dampen their enthusiasm.

So, for your enjoyment:

Fried Crow
Can either fry on the bone or filet the meat. To tenderize the meat you need to cook in a pressure cooker for 15 minutes at 10 pounds or boil in water with a tablespoon of salt until tender to being stuck with a fork. Remove the breast or filets from the pressure cooker or boiling pot. Flour and shallow fry in a pan until golden brown.

The filets are great fun to pass off to your friends as chicken gizzards.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Great recipes, Jake. It might be good lightly breaded with corn meal and fried in olive oil and butter.

Kirkepiscatoid said...

Well, and since when did heterosexual sex become the trump card for "moral behavior?"

It seems to me the definition of "morality" covers a lot of things in Scripture, and there are a lot of proscribed activities and behaviors in the Bible, and I don't recall anything marking the standards of sexual behavior as being the "most important Biblical feature of morality." Some people seem to have elevated the status of that one above all others.

Hiram said...

Good grief! I did not say, and would not say, that sexual morality is the only consideration that is to made in assessing fitness for ordained ministry. Far from it. But one's sexual behavior is not simply a private matter, not to be considered.

Jim of L-Town said...

Hiram, trust me this is not a site for discussion. There is little room here for disagreement.
You will not just be argued with, you will be mocked and vilified (see crow recipe).
This site is not a friendly place for one who holds to the traditional views of Christianity.
I used to come here a lot, now only infrequently to see how nasty and offensive even a supposedly loving priest can be.
If you want a place where you might be heard, never agreed with, but heard and not mocked, try Susan Russell's blog: An Inch At a Time.
I have been posting there for a long time and while we don't agree on much, Rev. Russell is never as nasty as it is here.
As one who as left the Episcopal Church, I have also chosen carefully the places I get my information. I never go to Virtueonline (very toxic there, similar to here) and I quit commenting on T19 because the comments sometimes get out of hand. But I do visit there a lot because there is lots of good information(Kendall Harmon must spend all his time reading a variety of news sources) outside the news of the church.
I'm a believer in civility, in the humanity of everyone, but you won't find much of that here unless you are on their side. Not a criticism, just a fact. This is American afterall and everyone has the right to present their arguments in the way they want.
You are only presenting yourself as a foil. A reverse troll, as it were.

Jim of Michigan

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

It always leaves me scratching my head when I get posts like this.

Sometimes, male privilege simply takes my breath away.

You boys really think you can write whatever you want, take whatever pot shots you want, dump whatever garbage you want, and then when I or others hold you accountable, you whine and complain that "this is not a place for discussion."

If you're REALLY left TEC, why do you bother to frequent sites like mine or Susan's? Or, to be so transparent about triangulation?

To quote Tina Fey, "Bitch is the new Black. Get used to it."

June Butler said...

I'm looking for nasty and offensive on the part of those who responded to Hiram, and I'm just not seeing nasty and offensive. A joke recipe for crow is nasty? My word! What tender sensibilities! I've seen Elizabeth on the receiving end of comments much closer to nasty and offensive than anything on this thread.

And if I read one more inquiry into another's private sexual activity, I will SCREEEEAM! I guess that could be construed as nasty and offensive. I, on the other hand, see prying into the intimate lives of others as nasty and offensive.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thanks, Mimi.