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Friday, June 29, 2012

The Family Feud

Well, we're not even at General Convention, and the feuding has already commenced.

Except now, we're feuding about how we shouldn't be feuding.

This is how the "family feud" goes. I know it so well, I could write the script for my "orthodox/evangelical" sisters and brothers. You know, the ones who claim that Scripture says what Scripture says and that's the end of that.

At this point, they could probably write my script, too.

Here's the script for those who are opposed to accepting any level of any equality for LGBT people.

First, you claim the majority. You use whatever ground you can scramble. "Most of the rest of the world.......". "Two thousand years of history and tradition......". "Nowhere in Holy Scripture...." "The majority of the Anglican Communion.......".

Then, feet firmly planted in what you perceive to be the 'ground of majority', you deliver a left hook to the midsection with Scripture - your perspective and interpretation, of course - citing the usual passages from Leviticus, Romans, etc., which let "my kind" know that we are an abomination in the site of the Lord. You don't even have to quote it. You just recite chapter and verse.

Then, you swing with a right uppercut to the jaw with Tradition - thousands and thousands of years of tradition - wherein this "innovation" has never been done before and has consistently been rejected by "orthodoxy" and "the church catholic" and is not of "the faith first received by the fathers".

When you find us still standing, you starting plummeting with both fists, citing "scientific studies" that try to disclaim the APA's findings that homosexuality is not a psychological illness or disorder and that we're not "born this way" but, rather, choose to "live in sin" and "defiantly" (also "rebelliously") not "submit" (these guys LOVE that word) to the "will of God".

Amazed that we have not gone away and, in fact, are standing tall, someone will predictably drag out some sordid, perverse practice they read somewhere in some pornographic magazine and try to embarrass and shame us and scandalize everyone else who may be paying attention.

When the booing starts from the sidelines, you begin to yell back that "we are hemorrhaging members" and "our church is dying" and other dire warning from the Chicken Little School of Theology, which gets the attention of the crowd.

Then, it's time to switch back to regain the ground of majority, deliver another left hook, then another right, more plummeting, etc.,etc., etc. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

The game changes just a bit when one of us starts talking about "justice". Oh, how they HATE that!  Especially when we use the language of liberation theology and begin to talk about assumed privilege and unexamined entitlement and targeted demographics.

What they hate even more is when we begin to tell our stories. Incarnational faith has always been problematic for those who do not wish to see or hear anything other than what they want to see or hear.

That's when you try throwing out a few crumbs, hoping the minorities will be so busy scrambling for them that you can turn a few people against each other. It's called 'brokering'. The one with the whole pie tosses out 1% and hopes that those without will be so busy fighting over the 1% that no one will notice that you still have 99%.

When that doesn't work, you scream "ad hominem attack" and claim that you have been insulted and we've been condescending. That's when we know we are starting to make you nervous.

When all else fails, you pull yourself up on your high horse and say over your shoulder, "I took an oath at ordination to submit to the authority of Scriptures as the Word of God and the doctrine, disciple and worship of Christ as this Church has received. I am not ashamed of the gospel, or believing in the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the authority of his Word and teaching of this Church."

And then, you ride away, apparently forgetting that everyone who is ordained takes the same oath and believes with all their heart that they are being faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, of which they are similarly unashamed. 

Susan Russell likes to remind us of something she once heard Michael Battle say, "Fish don't know they're wet." Which is a nice way of saying that some people are absolutely clueless about their privilege and entitlements so they hear the Gospel in a completely different way and behave accordingly.

They don't mean to be arrogant. They just don't know that they are.

I had so hoped that this General Convention would be without rancor. I fear it won't. I'm sure there will be at least a few diehard "fundgelicals" who will get up to the microphone during the legislative sessions, committee hearings, and on the floor of Convention and we'll see and hear a few of the same moves we've been seeing and hearing for the last almost 40 years.

You can expect the expected from the progressive side: liberation theology, incarnational stories of faith, and lots of talk about justice. And, we'll still be standing tall at the end.

We are not going away. We are, likewise, unashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Integrity has put together a wonderful video of the last 36 years of our "marching in the light of God" toward "all the sacraments for all the baptized". You can watch it here to get a sense of where we started and where we are now and where we hope to be.

Stay tuned. I'm planning to blog daily from Indianapolis, just as I have for every General Convention since 2006 when this blog was first created.

I'm leaving early Sunday morning and will arrive at my hotel in the late afternoon. There are booths to set up and the legislative caucus to organize and old friends to meet and new friends to make.

Hopefully, there will be more of that and less of "the family feud" - which, I'm just now remembering - was all about getting the 'right' answer - the one that most everyone else agreed with (".... And, the survey says.......").

I'm less concerned about being 'right' and much more concerned about doing good.

And, if we do well, you won't hear me complain either - whether or not we have to feud about it.


Muthah+ said...

But what would GC be without a feud? I do not think that even God would listen if we didn't fuss with each other. But I think that the Church may just be tired of it all. Please God this is so.
The whole of Christian History is about the push-pull--the tension between the ideal and the reality. Those of us who have seen years of it need to remind the newer members to ease up and remind them that God is in control.

Lindy said...

I hope you have a good an uneventful trip, and that all your plans are executed smoothly. I know there will be, ahem... discussion. But I do believe TEC is in good hands, God's hands, right where she has always been. Good luck, Elizabeth, and thank you for all you do to make God's love known to everybody.

JCF said...

someone will predictably drag out some sordid, perverse practice they read somewhere in some pornographic magazine and try to embarrass and shame us and scandalize everyone else who may be paying attention.

See re the execrable Martin Ssempa's "Eat Da Poo-Poo" agit-prop campaign. That campaign (undoubtedly PAID FOR, in every respect), not homosexuality itself, is what was introduced to Africa. Our LGBT brothers&sisters are literally being MURDERED because of this hate campaign---all based upon a fundamental LIE about Who We Are. Kyrie eleison.

Eyes on the prize, GC.

SCG said...

I look forward to your reporting from GC 2012. I wish I could be there myself to watch the game show unfold. All very predictable. My own bishop is also predictable (opposing same-sex blessings... and forbidding priests in the diocese to partake in such an affront). At least he's now owning that opinion as his own and not trying to pass it off as "We Florida Episcopalians...." I think he's heard enough dissention from many in the diocese to know that he is standing firm... on his own island. BTW... love the elephant in the room picture!

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Muthah+ - What would GC be without a feud? I don't expect we'll ever know that, which is why this is my last one. I don't know if God tires of it, but I sure do. And, I am. Even before I leave.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Lindy - We always make it through, with God's help. We've got some wonderful leadership and I feel confident about leaving. God is good.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

JCF - I had heard about the "Eat da poo-poo" campaign but I admit that, at first, I thought it was a joke. When I realized it was not, I was outraged. This is one of the things I was referring to in my post. I'm willing to bet that neither of those two men in the video are gay. Perverts are gay and straight and bi.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

SCG - I think I've heard from a few deputies in your diocese who are the bishop's "good boys".

The elephant picture comes from Integrity. B033 is still the elephant in the living room - especially when it comes to the budget

JCF said...

I'm willing to bet that neither of those two men in the video are gay

I'm willing to bet they were PAID. What won't desperate people do for money?

Nan Bush said...

When I asked my rector the other day if he missed being a delegate to GC, he smiled a rueful smile and said, "All we Episcopalians talk about any more is not God but sex. It's too tiring."

So...into the woods with you. Know that we're all invisibly at your back. Blessings.

Nurse Philosopher said...


I don't know what I imagined went on at GC, but I feel like I understand some of the ugliness better now.

First, I would like to apologize for the hurt some of my straight brothers & sisters have caused, and will cause with cruel & offensive comments at this convention. Their attempts to shun LGBT members so they can have a mythical church and get back their comfort zones are pitiful. Such paltry and unworthy goals. They run counter to Jesus' example. If anything can be called "abomination," it is that.

I am appalled that you and others among my LGBT internet friends have had to listen to ANYONE speak of you as if you were not in the room or had no rights/opinions if you were. I could not sit through a diatribe of lies like you describe without speaking up or leaving. I fully understand why you have run to the end of your tolerance too. I thank you for the hard work of change.

Be strong and know that there are many out in 'netland not going to GC who stand behind you in prayer and are grateful for all your efforts and those of so many others. TEC is a better place because of all of you.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

JCF - My thought exactly

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thanks so much, Nan. I can deal with giants in the sky but it's the big bad wolf I fear I'll have to split open in order to save Granny.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thank you, NP. I've not so much run out of steam as I've learned that the next generation won't step up to the plate as long as we're around. So, this is my last one. I'm going to give it my best, as I always do, and then bow out. It's just time.