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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

This is news?

Well, all the 'dish' has been spilled, and it's not a pretty picture.

It's not just the Anglican teabagging that's become an embarrassment.

Apparently, since I last wrote, the emails posted at Preludium indicate that this was all part of a deceptive plan to subvert the Presiding Bishop's wise decision not to have General Convention deal with the Anglican Covenant.

This was clearly an end-run to push the Anglican Covenant in its present form and force The Episcopal Church out of membership in The Anglican Communion.

There's also a very deceptive bit in a conversation with the bishop of South Carolina (that would be Mark Lawrence), in which he is asked to provide "pastoral visitation" to a conservative / orthodox congregation in Colorado. +SC declines because he does not want "quid pro quo" (a liberal bishop providing pastoral visitation to one of his liberal congregations).

This would be known as the Anglican NIMBY Effect (NIMBY = "Not in my back yard." See also under file "Ick Factor.")

What the emails make painfully clear that this is a political document not meant to build up TEC but to tear her down. It's very much like The Chapman Memo.

You remember the Chapman Memo, right?

Even Ruth Gledhill, Religion Editor (AKA "Anglican Gossip Columnist") for the London Times is on the case. Not exactly a ringing endorsement, but as she tends to favor the conservatives in her reporting, she is, at least, giving even greater exposure to the whole sad affair.

So, let's see - a leaked document from the conservative camp with a destructive agenda and plan. End-run pushes. Deception. Duplicity. Backroom politics. Sexism. Homophobia.

Hmmm . . . and this would be news because??????????

Don't get me wrong, I am glad this whole very sad situation is being exposed for what it is, and I am deeply grateful to Mark Harris, Susan Russell, Jim Naughton and a whole host of other colleagues who took real leadership when these emails began to surface and are now taking some heavy hits from some of the bishops who signed onto the document.

However, this is hardly news to those of us who have been paying attention for the past, oh, I don't know, decade or so.

For those of us serving in justice organizations, this is the stuff of our daily bread. The only surprise is that it still surprises people who know better, such as the person quoted by Susan Russell in her statement from Integrity - an ally - who said, ‘This is stunning. It is remarkable to think about the plotting that is going on. In many ways I am just too na├»ve.’”

Well, honey, stick around and in no time flat you'll get over that. Indeed, you'll start to operate out of a hermeneutic of suspicion, just like the rest of us.

It will be interesting to see how these next few weeks unfold. Maybe this will serve as a wake-up call to those in the House of Bishops and new deputies who really, really, really want to believe that this is not a political battle.

Maybe this will strengthen the resolve of those who have been working as activists for decades to find the courage to continue this thirty-three year battle for justice through yet another General Convention.

Maybe it was the Holy Spirit, who just happened to see a few of these emails whiz past Her in cyberspace and said, "Hang on just a minute! This has got to stop!"

Maybe it was justice, working itself out in The Episcopal Church.

It may be all of the above, but for some of us, anyway, this ain't news.

In some ways, its even more embarrassing than Anglican Teabagging.


it's margaret said...

And then there was this reading in morning prayer today (1 John 2:18-19) Children, it is the last hour! As you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. From this we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they did not belong to us; for if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us. But by going out they made it plain that none of them belongs to us.

Laughing and crying at the irony that this is the reading for "the day after."

KJ said...

Important news, but no, not very surprising. I just assumed that such nonsense was occurring.

There's no nonsense like church nonsense.

Jim said...

The only "news" here is the complete lack of honor on the part of bishop Lawrence. A similar lack on the part of the others is about as newsworthy as winter coming to North Dakota.




Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Sorry to sound cynical, Jim, but even the 'news' about +SC isn't 'news'.

June Butler said...

What's really, really new is that - lo! - the Episcopal Church has governed itself all wrong since 1789. Who knew?

Matthew said...

I agree Grandmere. Why would I want to be part of a congregational church anyway? I never did want that.

Makes you wonder what else they want to get rid of -- sacraments, liturgy? Pretty soon we'll be just some mega protestant church.

MarkBrunson said...

Really! Can we not excommunicate people who are wilfully destroying the community?!

The fact that it's not news should be giving us pause - not as a reflection on them, but on our weakness and inaction.

I'm sorry, but I am just so frustrated with our "niceness" in the face of what needs to clearly be forcefully addressed. I understand patience and compassion, but, at a point it becomes laziness and neglect!

Cany said...

I have to wonder if these folks take their advise from the GOP or the reverse.

Maybe both have lifetime passes for the crazy train.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Oh, Mark, you hit the nail right on its proverbial head. What we need is real leadership in the HOB. We not only need a strong, non-anxious presence and courageous witness, we need to join that with a clearly articulated vision. "Mother" needs to put her foot down, look deep into their eyes and say, "Because I said so, that's why."

Jim said...

Rev. Elizabeth,

I wanted to believe that no one who had made all the statements that got that bishop's second election confirmed could sign onto a statement like that.

I even wanted to believe that having received a great many liberal's votes to achieve confirmed election that he might have enough intellectual honesty to accept the possibility that some of us are (ya know) Christians.

My bad.


MarkBrunson said...

I just don't see how our leadership can't realize how much they're hurting and alienating those who've stood behind them, all in the name of holding on to those trying to harm them.