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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Recognizing the desire

This is the view out of the kitchen door of the rectory, taken midway through what is now being called 'The Blizzard of 2010'.

Well, that's what it's being called 'Noth Joisey' anyway. We're too tough for 'Snowmarghedon' or 'Snowcapolypse'. Snow? Eh, fuggeddeboutit!

It's very different from my experience in LSD (Lower, Slower Delaware). Very Different. I'm quite certain that they still have not yet dug out from the weekend's blizzard. They got hit with another 18-20 inches yesterday. It will take weeks before they return to anything that appears "normal".

In sharp contrast, the streets here are pretty clear. I'm waiting for the guys with the plow to come dig out the rest of my driveway - especially the pile of snow that has accumulated at the end of my driveway. A little gift left by the street plow.

What is most remarkable is the silence. The neighborhood is very quiet. Very Quiet. No sound of the chatter and giggle of children on their way to school. Even the birds are quiet.

It is something I'm used to when I stay in LSD. Not so in North Jersey.

In the midst of the quiet, I've found myself reflecting on yesterday's statement from the Church of England Synod which "recognized the desire" of members of the ACNA to remain in the Anglican family.

The vote displaced the language of the original motion that would have "express[ed] the desire that the Church of England be in communion with the Anglican Church in North America”.

Episcopal Cafe reports that
"The debate made it clear that ACNA was not a part of the Anglican Communion. If ACNA wishes to be a part of the Anglican Communion there are procedures for that, procedures ACNA is not interested in following. And, the Archbishop of ACNA's answer to the question "is the ABC Anglican?" is no, at "the cost of his office".
It looks to me as messy as the remains of the Blizzard of 2010. Messy, but not anywhere near as paralyzing.

I find the language of 'desire' strange. Indeed, it is almost ironic when you consider that what the ACNA finds so repugnant about The Episcopal Church is that we 'recognize the desire' of LGBT people to be 'in communion' with each other and God in the sacred vow of marriage in the church in which they are baptized members.

We're not talking about the affirmation of a 'lifestyle' - whatever that means. We are talking about affording the sacramental grace to those who desire to live by the values and principles of the gospel.

The folks at ACNA are so repulsed by this thought that they ask for "inclusion" based on their exclusion of LGBT people and, by extension, the part of the Body of Christ that would welcome and include "the outcast" of our culture

Astoundingly, the entire argument for their inclusion in The Anglican Communion was based on half-truths and attacks on The Episcopal Church.

I have always found it fascinating that people who have stated plainly that they are no longer part of TEC are upset when TEC agrees and takes the steps necessary to remove them from the rolls of the church. AND consider it "persecution" if the church seeks to recover property that all knew was covered by canons giving the TEC a trust interest.

What the ACNA "desires" is to have it both ways - or, as my now sainted father would huff, 'They want an egg in their beer.'

The CofE Synod behaved very much like Mother Church. "Yes, dears," they said, "We know what you 'desire' but I fear you're going to have to wait until your 'Daddies' (in this case, The Archbishops of Canterbury and York) come home."

Note to ACNA: Don't hold your breath during your tantrum, darlings. In matters of conflict, your Daddies aren't known for having either a spine or a backbone to share between the two of them.

The ACNA, however, is rejoicing.
The Most Rev. Robert Duncan, archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, thanked Mrs. Lorna Ashworth of Chichester for bringing the church to the attention of the General Synod. “We are very grateful to Mrs. Ashworth and the scores of other friends in the Synod of the Church of England for all they did to give us this opportunity to tell our story to the mother church of the Anglican Communion. It is very encouraging that the synod recognizes and affirms our desire to remain within the Anglican family.” said Archbishop Duncan.
Even one of the little kids in my neighborhood can recognize a 'snow job' when they see one.

Meanwhile, Synod will go on to discuss the matter of women in the Episcopacy. The prediction is that won't decide anything on that, either, given the fact that the committee charged with the work of making recommendations was unable to complete their work.

They said, essentially, the same thing. They "recognized' the desire of women and other people to provide "all the sacraments for all the baptized" but were at a loss to come up with a strategy of appeasement for those who simply can not abide the authority of the office of bishop to be open to women.

Read: We are hopelessly spinning our wheels in the snow and icy slush of misogyny. Poor dears need someone to come by and give them a push.

In the quiet of the morning, I'm remembering the words of Dr. King:
"Vanity asks the question: is it popular? Expedience asks the question: is it politic? Cowardice asks the question: is it safe? But conscience asks the question: is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither popular, nor politic nor safe but one must take it because one's conscience tells one what is right."
It's time to do the right thing. Indeed, it is past time.

In the blizzard of words that have come from across the pond, it is time to bring out the plows.

Will it be costly? Of course it will. Will everyone be happy? Of course, they won't. The gospel has never been about making everyone happy. The gospel has always been about our recognition of the desire of God to have us do what is right.

In the quiet of the morning, it is Dr. King's words that float across the silence, plowing through the mess left over by the storm of rhetoric and making a path obscured by the desire for raw power and control.
"I refuse to believe that we are unable to influence the events which surround us. I refuse to believe that we are so bound to racism and war, that peace, brotherhood and sisterhood are not possible.

I believe there is an urgent need for people to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to violence and oppression. I believe that we need to discover a way to live together in peace, a way which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation.

The foundation of this is love.

I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. I believe that right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant. I believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits.

I believe that what self-centered people have torn down, other-centered people can build up by the goodness of God at work within peoples. I believe that brokenness can be healed. And that the lion and the lamb shall lie down together, and everyone will sit under their own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid."
Let us recognize the desire for 'Unarmed truth' and 'Unconditional love'.

With those two plows, we can clean up any mess left over by any blizzard.


Anonymous said...

"The gospel has never been about making everyone happy."Amen to that. Do justice, love mercy, walk humbly with your God. Love God, love your neighbor. None of that is easy and often does not make individuals happy. Good and thoughtful post. Thank you.

John B. Chilton said...

C of E and the "deadlocked" committee is showing a bit of traction (finally!) on the women in the episcopacy. (But as you say, don't hold your breath.) See Ann Fontaine's post,

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thanks, preacher1

John - I'm breating here. In. Out. In. Out.

Bradley said...


Bradley Upham aka "choirboyfromhell"

Muthah+ said...

Today another Episcopal priest came to my Lutheran clericus. His parish has gone to half time and yoked with a near ELCA congregation in order to have a full-time pastor. I don't feel so much like an onion in a petunia patch anymore.

But as we begin to be more open about who is coming to communion and why, that sense of who is a part of the Anglican Communion and who isn't is going to look more and more funny. What does it mean to be in communion with one another? ACNA, Nigeria, have chosen NOT to be in communion with us--how can they expect to be in communion when they won't kneel at the altar rail with us?

AutumnJoy said...

I love your "creed" beginning with "I refuse to believe that we are unable to influence the events which surround us. I refuse to believe that we are so bound to racism and war, that peace, brotherhood and sisterhood are not possible.... it is profused with love.

IT said...

Mark Harris has some clarification of what all the ructions really mean....

DeanB said...

(OT but,) Blessings on your father -- I never heard anyone but MY father say, "What do you want, egg in your beer?" (he came from Bensonhurst, and would often have prefaced that with "as we say in South Brooklyn, ...")

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Since I never heard anyone else in my family use the expression, I'm thinking that my father picked it up from someone in the Army - probably another PFC who was from South Brooklyn.