Well, there are secrets and then there are secrets, eh?
There are secrets that ought not be secret. Indeed, it just doesn't make any sense to keep them secret - you know, like, oh, say, the membership of the special Theology Committee of the House of Bishops - unless, of course, something sinister is going on.
Even if nothing sinister is going on, the fact that the constellation of the membership of the HOB Theology Committee is a secret makes it seem as if something sinister is going on - or, at least, intended.
Well, Lisa Fox over at My Manner of Life, has discovered the identity of eight of the ten members.
You can get all the information by clicking the link above, but here they are:
* The Rt. Rev. Joe G. Burnett, Bishop of Nebraska
* Ellen Charry, Princeton Theological Seminary
* Deirdre J. Good, General Theological Seminary
* Willis Jenkins, Yale Divinity School
* The Rev. Grant LeMarquand, Trinity School for Ministry
* Eugene Rogers, University of North Carolina, Greensboro
* The Rev. George Sumner, Wycliffe College, Toronto
* The Rev. Daniel A. Westberg of Nashotah House
Now, for pity's sake, what was all the cloak and dagger secrecy about?
I mean, all they're doing is writing a report. They are not trying to put out a consensus document. They do not intend to propose "a way forward." They are simply charged to make theological statements – one pro and one con – about same-sex relationships in the life of our church.
That's it. That's all. Just another report. Thank you. Done.
But wait! There's more!
ENS (Episcopal News Service) is reporting another "secret" meeting at General Convention.
Are you ready for this? Hold onto your hats, kids. Here it is:
Sometime during July 7 - 9, there will be a meeting between the Archbishop of Canterbury and eight LGBT deputies.
* the Rev. Michael Barlow, Diocese of California.
* Louie Crew, Diocese of Newark;
* the Rev. Canon Lisa Gray, Diocese of Michigan;
* the Rev. Tobias Haller BSG, Diocese of New York;
* Joanne O'Donnell, Diocese of Los Angeles;
* the Rev. Altagracia Perez, Diocese of Los Angeles;
* Rebecca Snow, Diocese of Alaska; and
* Michael Spencer, Diocese of Eastern Michigan.
Now, before you get your tighty-whities in a knot, this is not a 'secret' meeting.
This is a 'private' meeting.
Here's a quote from ENS:
Barlowe said that he and the other deputies understood the meeting was to be brief and private, but that it was not a secret.
"It's not a summit or constituted in an official way," he said. "We don't expect to issue a communiqué or anything like that."
Instead, Barlowe said, he hopes the meeting will be a chance for dialogue and a chance for Williams to hear about the ministries of eight Episcopalians whose "significant fundamental characteristic" is "our deep love for the Episcopal Church within the Anglican Communion." The eight deputies' lives reflect the broad range of ministry of all Episcopalians, he said.
This is an opportunity for the Archbishop of Canterbury to ACTUALLY sit and talk with - and hopefully listen to - the real life incarnation of 'the issue' that is such a deal-breaker in the Anglican Communion.
This is the first time "officially" that this will have happened. Goodness knows that +++Rowan has met countless times with the former Bishop of the Episcopal diocese of Pittsburgh, not to mention the former rector of an Episcopal Church in Truro, VA, as well as others from around the communion who have had his ear about their perspective of 'the issue".
But, +++Himself has not met "officially", albeit "privately" with any LGBT people.
In the flesh, as it were.
Can I just say? IT'S ABOUT DAMN TIME!!!
I'm a big devotee of the Incarnation. Indeed, as I have preached from my pulpit and written on this blog, I think it is the central most important doctrine of Christianity.
If you don't believe in the Incarnation, well, you really can't call yourself a Christian, can you? I mean, what's the point? Jesus would then be just a really wise man who taught a way of life like the Buddha or Gandhi or . . . well, you get what I'm saying.
When we see and meet the Christ in each other, something changes. When we honor and respect the Christ in each other, it can be transformative.
That's no secret. That's what our faith teaches us.
We are to live our faith boldly, out loud, in the light, as witnesses to Christ's unconditional love for all human kind which he demonstrated on the cross - a decidedly public act.
Whew! All this even before General Convention has begun.
Fasten your seat belts, kids. It's going to be a very interesting ride to Anaheim.