Saturday, May 26, 2007

Report on the May 25th Meeting of the Clergy of the Diocese of VA with TEC Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori

BB NOTE: The following is an in-depth report on a meeting yesterday between the clergy of the Diocese of Virginia and the Presiding Bishop at Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS):

May 25 2007

Opening remarks by the PB:

PB: “One of the great gifts of serving in this position is that I get to travel around the church and see what’s going on. I get to meet people and hear stories about how the church lives its life in different places and contexts. And there’s enormous good news in that. Every diocese I have gone to visit has stories of health and vitality to tell. I discovered … last week that some people were annoyed by my talking about that. But I talk about that certainly because it’s true but also because it, I think it’s essential to counteract what the headlines have to say about the Episcopal Church, which is a tiny fraction of what is going on … the stories of health and vitality come from congregations and people and communities who are paying attention to the needs of their neighbors and are engaged in that mission to serve the world. I think that’s great and glorious good news and there simply needs to be more of it, and teach the other parts of the church or challenge other parts of the church to be about that work as well.”

“Now a conversation … just a word about “conversation” … it comes from a Latin word that means turn about, to go around with, to have dealings with, and it doesn’t come to mean what we mean as talking with each other til quite a bit later … “conversation” has that same constellation of meaning as the Hebrew word ‘yada , “to know” ... conversation is a way to begin to know each other in intimate ways, to hang out with other people, to come to know them. A conversation is one of the challenges, not just in this church but in our society. How do we have conversation that does not immediately lead to violence? You remember the flap about Don Imus and his comments about the Rutgers women’s basketball team? Well that was a violent conversation in many ways, and his language about the basketball players, ah their response was nonviolent. They said we just want to get together and talk, we want to have conversation with you … his words initially were words of judgment that these women were somehow less than I should pay attention to or not important to my life, they’re beneath me. And some of the commentators that challenged him and others were no different … Once we get to that point of conversation no one is going to come out of it in a gracious way. That leads to judgment through shutting off what we mean by conversation. I think as a church we have some capacity to model and teach a nonviolent way of having conversation. That’s something I think that’s a gift we have to offer not only in our own context but in that of the world around us. I long for conversations that build up … that create rather than destroy.”

Commentary: Many questions followed, and with them, many answers which often used the words ambiguity and conversation. With each new presentation in her slow and measured monotone, the Presiding Bishop made it clear she highly values continuing dialogues with others without necessarily valuing coming to a place of agreement. The final place that we can find in theology is ambiguity. While we may start by seeing things far more clearly, like a child learning to read by learning the alphabet she said, we learn as we grow that language is far more complex and ambiguous. I suppose she intended to say that those who were growing in their faith would also be leaving behind childish certainty for a more mature sense of ambiguity. Her comment later in the proceedings gave a very clear insight into her way of working through all these issues. She said, “I have no clear answers, that’s what pastoral skill is about.” What we received then, was not clarity, but we were invited into a relationship with someone who wanted to offer her pastoral skill to us an anxious and worried folk. When she added, “The spirit continues to urge us into greater depth.” What shall we find in those depths? The bishop told us that what was needed was not to have people change their minds but to have a change of heart. It was not hard to imagine that the change needed was that of becoming more open to the ambiguities of life, less anxious, more inclusive, and less tied to theological or structural answers. “We are still living into the theology of the ’79 Prayer Book,” she offered, “and the shift in ways of being is even harder than the shift in ways of thinking.”

This change of being needs to be reflected in how we are the church she said in many different ways, including offering an interesting perspective on planting churches and evangelizing folk. She told again her story of the priest who sits in a Starbucks waiting for people to talk to him about God. She applauded the idea of sitting and waiting for people to tell us their stories of God because after doing so “maybe we will have some good news to share with them.” We need to reach out “rather than by imposing our own well-defined structures on them we need to open up places to hear the stories of others.” However, as a church planter it seems odd that so little emphasis would be placed on proclamation of the good news … That lead another church planter to ask the Bishop about her sense of the mission of Jesus in salvation. Her answer was:

PB: Our understanding as Christians is that Jesus is our salvation, that he died for the whole world. That said, we don’t necessarily know the mechanisms by which God saves the whole world … My understanding of idolatry includes the assumption that I can know and comprehend the way in which God saves people who are not overtly Christian. I understand that Jesus is my savior, I understand that Jesus is the savior of the whole world. But I am unwilling to do more than speculate about how God saves those who don’t profess to be Christians. I look at the fruits of the life of someone like Mahatma Ghandi and the Dhali Lama and I see Christ-like features …

The priest followed up by suggesting the Bishop spent more time saying what she would not say instead of affirming what she could say about Jesus. She responded by describing the difference between what she called apophatic and cataphatic faith:

PB: “… our tradition includes both a negative way of refraining from affirming that God is more than we can understand, and is beyond our comprehension and there’s a positive part of our tradition that says Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. And I hear you saying that you want a much more positive statement about it and that’s not from where I come. I can only offer what I can offer.”

A follow up question by another priest asked the Bishop what she does with the Great Commission. The priest asking said she felt the Great Commission had been watered down.

Bishop Jefferts-Shori responded that it was to be lived out by “teaching and forming and baptizing and nurturing and continuing to prod people to grow up into the full stature of Christ.” Absent from this answer was any value of evangelism. There seemed almost a reticence or bashfulness about spreading the Gospel to those who have not yet heard it.

A question about Bishop Robinson failure to be invited to Lambeth brought a new twist on the ides of conversation:

PB: “The conversation isn’t over yet … how can we be involved in this conversation in a way that offers yet another possibility? … So rather than having to come to one conclusion or the other let’s keep it open and see if we can find something more creative …”

Another priest stated his dissatisfaction with the Anglican Covenant, and asked the Bishop what she felt it meant to be an Anglican. Her response included these words:

PB: “… One hundred and forty years ago we did, as a communion, make some statement about what we felt the essentials of Anglicanism were and are in the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral. That’s been the basis of our conversations with other communities and other denominations for many years since. I think a big part of the push for something more clearly defined has to do with anxiety, with an unwillingness to live in the tension of two (contradictory) stories that can both be true … I think that the goal of increased conversation about identity and what it means to be an Anglican as well as an Episcopalian I think is enormously healthy …”

Another priest asked: “You started by talking about conversation and used the example of Don Imus and how speaking to people beneath you is not gracious. A question that comes out of my congregation is when they hear the words ‘a handful, a tiny minority a tiny fraction.’ There’s some question about how tiny it is and if it is growing in fact, and the comment I have to face is ‘Doesn’t that sound condescending to speak about these people as a tiny fraction?’ How would I respond to members of my congregation?”

Her response sounded familiar talking points:

PB: “I think it needs to be taken in its context … that the members of the congregations where a majority of members have voted to leave constitute about a half of one percent of the total congregations in the Episcopal Church. I do see that as a tiny minority …”

The priest did not seem satisfied with her answer and asked his question again. She responded:

PB: “Well I apologize if it sounds condescending. I am trying to report accurately what we understand is going on.”

The priest then commented: “So the ‘gracious conversation’ you said was the gift the church could offer … that conversation with the departing congregations would look like what?”

PB: “For those who have come now to the faithful conclusion that they can no longer be part of this body I think our task is to bless their journey and reassure people if they want to return the door’s open and we’ll keep the light on. We pray for the best for all communities …”

No one took the initiative to ask how praying for those communities and wishing them the best squared with the lawsuits pending against them. But then, the good Bishop may have only been trying out a new slogan for the Episcopal Church: “We’ll keep the light on for you.” After listening to her speak, though, it was clear that whatever light would be kept burning in the Episcopal church, it could not possibly be the light of Christ.

Commentary: What gets clearer is that in looking at faith you have to look at both the content of what is believed and the way in which someone believes. The content of her conversations is advanced, but the process of her faith is much less developed. This is what seems so confusing.

She appears to have a faith that encourages deep ambiguities and mysteries, when in fact that's the content of her faith, not her practice. That's what she says, not how she acts. No wonder so many of us feel marginalized by a person who says she is so concerned with people on the margins.

When she said, "I have no clear answers so it comes down to pastoral skill" I finally saw the light. The PB is all about pastoral skill. That's the highest value in her life, and no doubt why she has been lauded and raised to the highest levels in the church. She comes across as pastoral. Part of that skill comes through in her monotone and slow speech, the perfected skill of non-anxious presence. Part of her skill comes through in the content of her beliefs. But the how of her beliefs shows there is not space for others who hold contrary beliefs. Her value on conversation/relationship as the highest ideal points away from a the more highly developed faith that she seems to express in her words.

• What matters most is pastoral skill, and an outward impression of compassion. She will always act to protect this impression.

• When listening to the PB we need to look past the content and watch for the actions ... but then we knew that already.

• Those who applaud her are perhaps most interested in the calming presence she offers than in anything else she can teach

• To question her or stand against her ideas one has to do so without giving her any passion to work with, for she will very quickly discount any alternative answers as a "rush to judgment" or "people acting out of fear". It is simply not possible for the PB, given her process for thought/faith, to imagine that any smart/compassionate person could disagree with her conclusions. She may allow for them to do so, but she can't understand how it could happen.

The reporter is a member of the clergy of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia.


Anonymous said...

For someone who "claims" to have left the Episcopal Church you sure do spend an awful lot of time obsessed with it!!! My guess is that many of the Presiding Bishop's comments, quite simply, were beyond your intelligence to understand. That's unfortunate. Prayers for knowledge to you!

Anonymous said...

My understanding is that the post was written by a member of the clergy of the Episcopal Church. I am a parishioner and a vestry member of an Episcopal parish that has not left the corporation and is extremely unlikely to do so. I for one appreciate this account of our PB's meeting.

Many of the remarks of the PB were beyond the ability of my intelligence to understand as well. But then, it is also beyond my ability of my intelligence to understand how the PB of our denomination could tell the primates in Tanzania that she supports their proposal and return to this country and deny that she supports it. It is beyond the ability of my intelligence to understand how she can say at this meeting, For those who have come now to the faithful conclusion that they can no longer be part of this body I think our task is to bless their journey and reassure people if they want to return the door’s open and we’ll keep the light on. We pray for the best for all communities … while still involved in litigation against those same individuals, litigation that Christians ought to regard as scandalous. That does not sound to me like the good shepherd. It sounds as if the sheep don't know her voice. This sheep certainly does not.

Anonymous said...

RE: "My guess is that many of the Presiding Bishop's comments, quite simply, were beyond your intelligence to understand. That's unfortunate. Prayers for knowledge to you!"

LOL. Another way of "doing conversation" for a gracious progressive? ; > )

What a hoot!

Shallow, substanceless comments and praising shallow substanceless comments by the PB. But denigrating the person's intelligence who offered the excellent critique of the PB's comments merely reveals intellectual insecurity.

Yours for more "gracious conversation",


Anonymous said...

You need to send Chris Johnson the link to the Gris/Rowan/Schori photo- he's got a broken link

Anonymous said...

Ladies and Gentlemen, we really shouldn't encourage the progressive tin-foil hat brigade as they sprinkle their "carefully considered thoughts" in their vain hope of raising those of us of orthodox persuasion up to something approaching their level. To do so does nothing more than encourage them to continue to babble their foolishness. Stop spreading pearls before swine and just offer prayer that they will stop being so foolish, repent and approach Christ as a little child.

Anonymous said...

Today is the 22nd anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood. Back then I could never have imagined the church in the position it is in today. Today it's hard to understand why we don't understand more ... why are so many of the answers so unclear?

I sat and listened to the PB on Friday. She talked about ambiguity. I wondered where in scripture I could find that concept (as in, "You shall know the ambiguity and the ambiguity shall set you free.") When she said the communion had once defined itself in the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral I wanted to ask a couple of questions:

(1) Has no one heard of the other statements and documents adopted by the Anglican Church? We are told the big lie over and over that Anglicanism "always" has been broad and comprehensive. But not so much that it is indistinct from other faiths. Bishop Gore once wrote (in a letter to the clergy)

"We church people have of recent years shown ourselves unmistakably anxious to avoid questions of principle. We have let ourselves drift, and have been even disposed to rely upon the alleged habit of the Church of England to avoid plain expressions of principle, and to “tumble along,” trusting that somehow it will emerge intact from the chapter of accidents. I think, however, that this has not always been the habit of our Church ... I believe that the zealous love of principles characterizes every period of real spiritual progress and power in the Church. And if it be true that of late years we have shrunk from the labour of examining and expounding principles, and if to shrink from this task is even characteristic of Englishmen and English Churchmen, we do well to remind ourselves that churches and states alike have been known to fail in human history simply through an excessive yielding to their characteristic weaknesses. I believe that no human organization, and especially no religious organization, can maintain itself unless it understands and lets other people understand what principles it stands for ... the Church of England has claimed comprehensiveness as its glory. It has given the utmost scope for liberty of opinion. But a comprehensive body means a body which can tolerate much difference of opinion and practice among its members because it is at the basis bound strongly together by principles held in common. Otherwise it is not a comprehensive body at all, but a mere consensus of jarring atoms, held together by some external bond. It is these common principles which are now imperilled amongst us ..."

Why do we ignore very well written, officially adopted documents like the 1922 Report of the Commission on Christian Doctrine, or the later report by the same commission published in 1987 under the title "We believe in God." The 1922 one is certainly worth the time to find and read.

(2) Why do some, like the PB, accept the C-Lambeth Quad as authoritative but then deny that Lambeth 1998 has authority? Or that subsequent decisions by Primates and Comissions can not poossibly have authority among us Americans who describe ourselves as autonomous? Is it that we are at a doctinal buffet where we can pick and choose which Lambeth statements we will accept and which we will not ... but on what logical basis do we do that?

One wonders. Or is that wanders?

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...
For someone who "claims" to have left the Episcopal Church you sure do spend an awful lot of time obsessed with it!!! "
When you are being sued by someone you do or should spend time watching and lisatening to what the ones sueing you are doing or saying. Nothing obsessive about that.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they just should have left the building and walked away. Then they could get on with their lives and the ministries which they say they could not do (and still don't seem to be able to do).

BTW, there are still many conservative parishes in the TEC who have no intention of following this right wing separatist nonsense. Is Schori "out there" in left field? Sure, but the pendulum will swing back the other way in nine more years.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Schori is a sophisticated banner waver. Her banners carry catch words like tolerance, mystery, equality, conversation, ambiguity, etc. The real message is the lives of those who wave the banners.

Be long-suffering and patient saints. God will reveal the truth concerning her in time.

Anonymous said...

I'm not Episcopalian - I just want to tell you-
I've downloaded several sermoms by Martyn Minns and they are scriptural, uplifting, wonderful. They make me happy. You are on the right path. Please don't let anyone wear you down.
I've listened to Spong talk several times - it just depresses me. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to the Episcopal cleric who provided this report. I had been interested and on the whole impressed by what I had heard about your new presiding bishop but had not realised before that she was such a mystical theologian -- wow! I have always been tremendously attracted by the school of mystical theology to which she appears to belong -- there's the via positiva, or apophatic theology, in which we make statements about what God is, which is succeded by a deeper understanding that leads to the via negativa, or kataphatic theology, in which we realise we can only say what God is not. But beyond that is a third level, which she didn't mention, in which we realise that God is beyond our understanding and our speech, and that's the via mystica. I wish she had said something about that but I realise that a question-and-answer like this is not the best venue to talk about mystical theology. Her allusion to Mother Julian made me suspect she was familiar with this kind of theology but this goes beyond that.


Anonymous said...

The Presiding Bishop was at another gathering with the Virginia clergy this weekend - at the consecration of Shannon Johnston as bishop coadjutor of the Diocese of Virginia. I think that deserves a link, too: (video); (news coverage)

Anonymous said...

Can someone point me to those portions of Scripture that talk about "conversation" or "apophatic" and "cataphatic" faith? Can't seem to find them in my Bible. In fact, her statements about salvation for some reason sound entirely heretical and in direct repudiation of the Thirty-Nine Articles. I believe she is espousing what used to be known as "Universalism."

But then what do I know? I probably am not intelligent enough to understand true Christianity.

Anonymous said...

Oh, you poor, suffering martyrs, getting dragged into court like that! Why, Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer had it easy next to you!

Here's a thought: if Martyn's Minions had not run down to the courthouse ASAP to transfer Episcopal Church property to the Church of Nigeria, there would be no lawsuits. But, being a bunch of political apparatchiki, they knew that such an action would force the diocese to respond, at which point they could run to the media crying about persecution and martyrdom.

It's so cheap and transparent, but when your church's one foundation is hatred of queers and uppity chicks, you have to work with what you got.

Alice C. Linsley said...

"Apophatic" is a term used in the Eastern Church, especially among ascetics and mystics who are appalled by TEC's actions. The term is used to negatively define the Holy. Here are two examples. Both involve negative space to indicate profound holiness. Example 1: The mercy seat between the wings of the cherubim on the altar of Israel. Example 2: The empty space between the two halves of the broken consecrated loaf. In both cases, negative space is of God's creating in order that He might make room for repentant sinners. TEC is unrepentant, so you may draw your own conclusion as to its response to God's invitation to holiness.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Unknown said...

Rolling My Eyes,

Let's be very clear here: The only thing that happened at the Court House by the Virginia Churches is that the votes were recorded. We were following the Virginia Protocol in how we conducted our votes and recorded the votes at the Court House as Virginia law dictates. No property was or has been "transferred" anywhere since it is in the hands of the Trustees. Let's just make that perfectly clear. The only lawsuits filed have been by Bishop Lee and 815 when David Booth Beers intervened in the Virginia process days after Bishop Lee set up his Property Commission, appointed members, and invited the departing churches to send two representatives each (which Truro did, electing two representatives right away as Bishop Lee requested). Following that fateful meeting with Booth Beers on that Monday in January, the whole process was suddenly shut that down and two separate lawsuits were filed - one by the Diocese of Virginia and one by 815 (the Court has now joined the two suits together). Let's make that clear. The properties remains in the hands of their trustees. This is Virginia. Thank God for Thomas Jefferson.

We also are aware that people can have a bad day, get frustrated, and dropping into the cafe is good place to go and relax, enjoy stimulating conversation, listen to music, watch fun videos, and make new friends. We have decided to send a pitcher of Chai over to your table, Rolling My Eyes, in hopes that you will feel more welcome and less cranky. In fact, I see that Hagrid has just arrived and is heading over to your table. He's great fun - I'm sure you will enjoy his company.


Alice C. Linsley said...

As I said before, the true message is found in the lives, attitudes and lack of charity of those who wave TEC's banners.

I have repented of that and many other mis-deeds and attitudes. Repentance is a daily way of life with me. And you?

Kevin said...

Play nicely!

Personal attacks with no grounds on those whom you disagree does not a valid argument make.

Unknown said...

Oops, looks like Hagrid has lost his temper and one of the "anons" has just gone sailing out the window.


Anonymous said...

Abigail Ann Young,

I trust you will read Evelyn Underhill on MYSTICISM before getting too excited by the PB's use of the words. I am not sure that the PB has a grasp of the real meaning of the words as she has apparent difficulty with the concepts of "let your 'yes' be yes, and your 'no', no." Ms. Underhill is a much more reliable guide to such mysticism and its appropriate uses than the current PB, in my humble opinion. Try for used copies.

That said mysticism is classically defined as staring in mist, centering in I, and ending in schism. Rather unfortunate that that is the usual progression in the Western Church. The Eastern Church has a longer pronounced understanding of the mystical progress and there are, of course, western mystics like St John of the Cross and the author of the Cloud of Unkwowing and the work of Brother Lawrence.

Anonymous said...

There was a recent discussion thread on the bishops/deputies list about the "tone" of the exchanges between other words about the dynamics at work in the process. I posted the piece below in response to that discussion and thought I would share it with you.

General Convention has called upon us to "tell our stories" to each other.
From my perspective it is the very telling of those stories that helps us truly understand each other.

Since these all involve conversations, I thought I would share it with you for whatever worth you might find of it.

Bruce Garner
"Since when do you have to agree with people just to defend them from injustice?" Lillian Hellman, Writer (1905-1984)

I pondered for quite a while whether to throw anything into the mix about
the dynamics of the conversations on this list, but truly felt compelled to offer some thoughts
about it from what may be a different perspective from what most might hear.

One of the current parlances for discussing what has traditionally been
"majority" and "minority" communities is "non-target groups" and "target
groups." The subtle difference probably lies in the fact that most of us at
one time or another fall into both groups. Most "expressions" on this list
tend to be from members of non-target groups, meaning those who are for the
most part straight and white with gender defining status as well.
Technically males are the non-target group, but females represent enough
numbers to often be a non-target group as well.

The terms liberal, conservative, moderate, revisionist, reasserter, high
church, low church, broad church, middle church, etc. are not applicable in
this situation because they don't really fit the situation.

Being a white male puts me into a non-target group until and unless I add
the part about being gay and then I "lose points" and fall into the realm of
target group. Lesbians are almost always in the target group category by
virtue of gender and sexual orientation.

This is all a lead in to sharing how it feels on this list to be in a target

Those of us who are lesbian or gay have spent most of our lives, adult lives
at least, having to either hide from who we are or defend who we are,
particularly and especially in communities of faith. That is still true
even in The Episcopal Church. The signs say welcome, but we can't really
count on that being the case, particularly in some dioceses and in some
parishes in dioceses where there is a general welcome. I would ask you to
think about how that might feel for you to experience. I realize that some
on the more conservative end of the spectrum may feel the same way, but the
reality is that you really encounter no true barriers in going to any parish
in any diocese and being able to worship. Granted, you might not always
hear or see what you might prefer, but you are always welcomed and no one
questions why you are even there.

My tendency is almost always to be direct and to the point about things, so
I will be. There are some on this list who continually denigrate the faith,
the personal relationship with Jesus Christ, the work of the Holy Spirit and
other concepts dear to us all when it comes to lesbians and gays. Those
folks usually immediately claim that is not what they are doing. But I must
tell you in all honesty that we "hear" that in your posts and in the "tone"
of your language. John Becker drags out the same "statistics" he's been
dragging out for at least 3 or 4 triennia. Donald Pershall continues to
cite materials that are anything but supportive of the faith and
faithfulness of lesbians and gays, often quoting information that is out of
context and/or out of date. Neal Michell frequently tells us in so many
words that we are the cause of the church's problems while failing to even
hear how inhospitable his tone sounds to lesbians and gays in particular but
to others as well. When the constant tone of that of negativity, it's no
wonder that growth and attitude might not be what some might want.
Negativity just does not attract people. I am well aware of Kendall's
abilities to provide theological reflections, but he very rarely ever posts
any of his own work to this list. Constantly citing others and never
revealing one's own thoughts is not helpful to these discussions. Many of
us lay our hearts and souls open for all, even at the risk of having them
stomped on. which is too frequently the case.

I do hear reactive responses from those I consider dear friends. I
understand the reactivity because I understand the frustration of working
hard to help people understand you as a child of God only to be dismissed
because of sexual orientation (and frequently gender). There isn't much
overt dismissal due to race or ethnicity...we are generally too polite to do
that openly.

Many of us, myself included, have noted in a variety of ways that we have no
desire for anyone to leave the table. We further make it clear that we will
always make sure there is a place at the table for all including and
especially those with whom we may disagree the most. We have also noted how
rarely that posture is reciprocated. One need only look at who has
"disassociated" themselves from whom to see that in action, particularly at
General Convention. One person told me in all honesty that he could not be
in a service where a woman presided because he couldn't be sure that "she"
was really a priest or bishop! I was appalled and amazed and I will just
leave that laying there for now.

I make a concerted effort to be as professional, as conciliatory, as
pastoral as I possibly can when writing to this list. I think I am
generally successful at that. But you know sisters and brothers, we all
have limits to our patience. Frustration at the attitudes we experience
ultimately boils over for most of us. We may be redeemed by the blood of
Jesus Christ but we are still human beings. We can only tolerate so much of
getting whacked up side the head with Bibles and various versions of
theological positions.

The issue of perhaps greatest concern, worry and wonder for me is the
stories I hear about clergy who are not doing anything to truly lead their
flocks. I hear wailing and "see" hand wringing. But I don't experience
much in the way of rectors and bishops being very honest with those in their
care and saying something on the order of let's chill out while we sit down
and really discuss the issues on our plates. There is concern and
consternation about loss of numbers. Hearing the tone of some, I understand
why people leave. It isn't over issues of sexuality and gender. It isn't
even over the "fighting" we might do. It's over the failure to take a holy
chance and facilitate honest discussion and dialog within their groups.
There is of course a risk to that. We sometimes don't do well with honesty.
But are we doing any better with dishonesty, vagueness, and the like? I
don't see it. My parish is a vital and lively parish. We hover around 3,
000 members all the time. I will not lie and say we didn't lose some folks
over "the issues" because we did. We also gained some folks. The ones I
know who left were generally those who didn't even want to think about the
issues much less engage in dialog about them. I continue to be appalled at
some attitudes..even in my own parish! But hey, that's life. I, like most
of the rest of us, are going about my/our ministries doing the best we can.

There is a fairly old and tired saying about walking in anothers' shoes.
Those of us who are lesbian or gay have already walked in the shoes of our
sisters and brothers who are not lesbian or gay because we often "passed"
for a period of time in our lives. We understand the issues from a unique
perspective. I would simply ask that those who are not lesbian or gay make
a concerted effort to try and experience life from being in our shoes...from
being in a target group. I've walked in your shoes.

Is it too much to ask you to walk in mine for a while? I don't think that
is too much to ask of those with whom we share the body and blood of Jesus
Christ on a regular basis. It's not about who knows the most about
Scripture or who can quote it the best. It is more about who is making an
effort to seek to see the face of Christ in the other, particularly the
other who is least like them.

Bruce Garner,
Executive Council

Anonymous said...

I have experienced your "listening" in conversation in chats on the Global South blog site. I am impressed you know about listening in one direction only...that others listen to you. This little piece no doubt exhibits the same listening process on the EC as you demonstrate.

You still haven't learned to listen to 2 millenia of Church Catholic teaching either. But the Church Militant still embraces the Church Triumphant in reality. A reality you and many in the HOB have great difficulty accepting because of your chronological snobbery and elevation of pretended 'knowledge' above consistently taught truth.

If you wish to engage in conversation, you'll have to stop insisting on privileged groups of sins NOT being sins. Welcome to the hospital for sinners. The Great Physician will see you NOW.

Pax Christi. The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost and sinful - all of them - all types of sinners.


Anonymous said...

To Anon, and in support of Art+'s reply. It is important to know your adversary. More battles are lost by those who underestimate their opponents.

Anonymous said...

The 1979 BCP does not convey the full word of God. It is time for the Church as a whole to return to the more meaningful, scriptural words of the 1928 BCP.

With regard to homosexuality. God says it is a sin. Jesus came to save the sinner. Just as Jesus did not throw a stone at the woman caught in adultery, Jesus would not stone a homosexual. He would welcome them to sin no more and follow him. In other words, Jesus would welcome the homosexual into His Church, and Jesus would love the homosexual. This does not mean that he would elevate the homosexual to any position of authority or leadership within His Church, but he would welcome the homosexual.