Friday, July 17, 2009

A Letter to Rowan: Slip Sliding Away ...

So Bonnie Anderson and Katharine Jefferts Schori have written a letter explaining things to Rowan Williams, which is quite contrary to what was actually said in debates on the floor of both the House of Deputies and House of Bishops.

Let's just recall what D025 actually says:

Resolved, the House of Bishops concurring, That the 76th General Convention reaffirm the continued participation of The Episcopal Church as a constituent member of the Anglican Communion; give thanks for the work of the bishops at the Lambeth Conference of 2008; reaffirm the abiding commitment of The Episcopal Church to the fellowship of churches that constitute the Anglican Communion and seek to live into the highest degree of communion possible; and be it further

Resolved, That the 76th General Convention encourage dioceses, congregations, and members of The Episcopal Church to participate to the fullest extent possible in the many instruments, networks and relationships of the Anglican Communion; and be it further

Resolved, That the 76th General Convention reaffirm its financial commitment to the Anglican Communion and pledge to participate fully in the Inter-Anglican Budget; and be it further

Resolved, That the 76th General Convention affirm the value of "listening to the experience of homosexual persons," as called for by the Lambeth Conferences of 1978, 1988, and 1998, and acknowledge that through our own listening the General Convention has come to recognize that the baptized membership of The Episcopal Church includes same-sex couples living in lifelong committed relationships "characterized by fidelity, monogamy, mutual affection and respect, careful, honest communication, and the holy love which enables those in such relationships to see in each other the image of God" (2000-D039); and be it further

Resolved, That the 76th General Convention recognize that gay and lesbian persons who are part of such relationships have responded to God's call and have exercised various ministries in and on behalf of God's One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and are currently doing so in our midst; and be it further

Resolved, That the 76th General Convention affirm that God has called and may call such individuals, to any ordained ministry in The Episcopal Church, and that God's call to the ordained ministry in The Episcopal Church is a mystery which the Church attempts to discern for all people through our discernment processes acting in accordance with the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church; and be it further

Resolved, That the 76th General Convention acknowledge that members of The Episcopal Church as of the Anglican Communion, based on careful study of the Holy Scriptures, and in light of tradition and reason, are not of one mind, and Christians of good conscience disagree about some of these matters.

What Schori and Anderson attempt to maintain - despite the rejoicing going on in the progressive quarters of this church here at General Convention - that they are just acknowledging "certain realities of our common life." Then they assert "Nothing in the Resolution goes beyond what has already been provided under our Constitution and Canons for many years." Well, that's a stretch because the Constitution and Canons call for affirmation of the following by all ordained persons:
I do believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God, and to contain all things necessary to salvation; and I do solemnly engage to conform to the Doctrine, Discipline, and Worship of the Episcopal Church. Declaration." (Article III)
Earlier, the Constitution declares that the Episcopal Church is committed to "upholding and propagating the historic Faith and Order as set forth in the Book of Common Prayer. " (Preamble of the Constitution of The Episcopal Church).

Resolution D025 (as does C056) do not conform with the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church which recognize the authority and teaching on scripture which is quite clear about what is considered holy living. The Faith and Order set forth in the Book of Common Prayer only recognizes matrimony between a man and woman as being holy living.

The Windsor Report recognized that and those facts on the ground have not changed. That The Episcopal Church is now not only admitting that this type of behavior has been welcomed, it has promoted it as a tool for bringing new members into the church (with disastrous results). The Spirit is doing a new thing, they say - either that is true or it is not. The Episcopal Church is rejoicing that it is true and they are no longer to pretend otherwise.

The word-smithing in this letter reflects the duplicity of the doublethink of the leadership of this General Convention. On one hand they want to explain to Rowan Williams the "complex and deliberative nature of our legislative process" and then on the other hand wants to explain that B033 is not repealed, it's just now read in light of D025 (and C056 which is on its way) - which in fact, repeals B033 as deputy after deputy after deputy after bishop after bishop after bishop said! Who do they think they are fooling? The Archbishop of Canterbury? Do they think he's that stupid?

They write this letter even before the passage of C056 which makes it abundantly clear that B033 is done, finished - as deputy after deputy after deputy attested. Nice timing, there, ladies.

Did Bonnie Anderson ever say anything to the House of Deputies to clarify their thinking - no, a thousand times no. She sat in silence as deputy after deputy after deputy repudiated B033.

Did the Presiding Bishop ever say anything in the public sessions to clarify the resolutions from what bishop after bishop after bishop said it was, both D025 and C056, did she ever say anything that even hints at what she attempts to say in this letter to Rowan? No. No, no, no.

The letter is sanctimonious and self-congratulatory and never quotes the Windsor Report or Lambeth 1.10 or the Dar es Salaam Communique or even B033 not even once. They attempt to pull the wool over Canterbury's eyes by saying, well, it's not what it really looks like because, well, we just hope (wink wink) that the Episcopal leadership will "continue to exercise prayerful discernment in making such decisions, mindful and appreciative of our relationships in the Anglican Communion." No, no, no, no - a thousand times no. Bishop after bishop after bishop after deputy after deputy after deputy saw this resolution and the one that follows it as liberation from B033 and the Windsor Report and Lambeth 1.10 (except for the bits they like and quote). They changed the wording in Title IV so that the word "Communion" now means "the Episcopal Church" - not the Communion, not the Anglican Communion.

Make no mistake about it - the intent here is to dare the Rowan Williams to say anything - for if he does, if he dares, the Episcopal Church stands ready to declare itself a victim, even as it slashes $24 million from its budget and sends staffers packing. There's nothing wrong, no, really.

If that's no enough, we have Bishop Schori writing to the "Anglican Primates" attaching a copy of the letter to Rowan Williams, writing:

15 July 2009

Dear Brothers in Christ,

My heart was filled with joy at seeing so many of you here last week at the 76th General Convention of The Episcopal Church meeting in Anaheim, California. It is important to me that we continue to find ways to communicate with one another directly about our different cultural and ecclesial contexts, and thereby prevent any misunderstandings.

For this reason, I am sending you a copy of a letter addressed to the Archbishop of Canterbury and co-signed by myself and the President of our House of Deputies. It outlines in some detail Resolution D025, which was adopted at this Convention, explaining both what this resolution means and what it does not mean. With so much misinformation circulating through the press and other sources, it is crucial to me that I provide the Archbishop and all of you with accurate information. To this end, I am also attaching a copy of Resolution D025, so that you may read it in its entirety for yourself.

As the attached letter notes, some people have been concerned that the adoption of D025 has effectively repealed the 2006 General Convention Resolution B033. Let me stress that this is not the case. Rather, we understand D025 to be more descriptive than prescriptive in nature, acknowledging the realities we face in various parts of our own Church while reaffirming our ongoing commitment on all levels to our relationships within the Anglican Communion.

I would welcome any questions or feedback you might have, and reiterate yet again my profound appreciation and joy at having so many of you with us as we gathered as a Church to worship, fellowship, and deliberate together. May God continue to bless your ministries and strengthen our bonds of affection.

Your servant in Christ,

One again, she attempts to take the victim platform - stating "With so much misinformation circulating through the press and other sources, it is crucial to me that I provide the Archbishop and all of you with accurate information." She and Bonnie Anderson did not dare to say what's written in these letters publicly here at General Convention for they must have anticipated the (understandable) outrage from the Integrity-aligned folks that would have been deafening. This is a bald face lie and she couldn't say it publicly, writing these letters to the leadership as though they will believe her. In fact, during the key points of debating D025, not one Anglican leader was sitting at the three tables set aside for them in the House of Bishop. Not one. They were gone, gone, gone.

They are now playing showtunes on the floor of the House of Deputies as we await the announcement followed by "Slip Sliding Away."

Slip sliding away, slip sliding away
You know the nearer your destination,
the more you slip sliding away
Oh God only knows, God makes his plan
The information's unavailable to the mortal man
Were workin' our jobs, collect our pay
Believe were gliding down the highway,
when in fact were slip sliding away
Slip sliding away, slip sliding away
You know the nearer your destination,
the more you slip sliding away

Rowan Williams said he didn't speak on coded language when he was here. But these resolutions are filled with coded language and it's clear that if Katharine Jefferts Schori and Bonnie Anderson are writing three-page-letters to the Archbishop of Canterbury they are severely worried. That they couldn't say their own worries to their own houses says more about the duplicity of their actions - and clarifies to all that The Episcopal Church has set its sights on slip sliding away into the sunset.

Peter Ould gets it right in his posting of this video:

Fulcrum, known for its moderating tone, has responded rather forcefully to the passing of C056. Don't know how Bishop Schori and Bonnie Anderson will be able to explain that one away - which may be why they took the time to write about D025 and not wait until the end of General Convention to write about both.

Integrity puts it this way:
We came to this convention committed to moving the church beyond B033 and forward on equality for the blessing of same-sex unions--and we are beyond gratified that we have realized both of those goals.

Thirty three years after promising a "full and equal claim" to the gay and lesbian baptized, the Episcopal Church has affirmed equal access to ordination processes for all orders of ministry for all the baptized, has approved a broad local option for the blessings of our relationships, and has called the church to work together toward common liturgical expressions of those blessings.

It is a great day for the church and a greater day for the witness to God’s inclusive love.
Convention Deputy and Communion Partners Rector, Dan Martin, however, puts it this way:
"The biggest irony in Anaheim is that the convention theme--Ubuntu: You in me and I in you--is being understood totally from a constricted provincial perspective," Dan Martin writes. "The universe in which the 'spirit of Ubuntu' is ackowledged to operate is limited to 'this church.' If we were able to get beyond our own collective narcissism, and hear the rest of the Anglican Communion saying "Ubuntu" to us, we would see what hypocrites we are."

Last word finally goes to Mr. Dylan, who seems to sum up the this General Convention best:

It's all right, cause it's all good. We'll just bless what the culture does cause, well, you know what they say, man, it's all good.

Brick by brick,
they tear you down.
A teacup of water
is enough to drown.
You oughta know,
if they could, they would
whatever's goin' down,
it's all good.
All good.
Said it's all good.

B. Dylan 2009


Ed McNeill said...

Bp. Schori's audience includes the ABC and Primates, but I do wonder whether the primary audience really isn't the rank and file of TEC. It is possible that this letter will be available throughout Episcopal Churches on Sunday, before the ABC responds.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting point, Ed McNeill.
BB, I had just posted this on T 1:9:
" "We understand Resolution D025 to be more descriptive than prescriptive in nature—a statement that reaffirms commitments already made by The Episcopal Church and that acknowledges certain realities of our common life. Nothing in the Resolution goes beyond what has already been provided under our Constitution and Canons for many years." How they reconcile this with Integrity's and SR's triumphant trumpeting to the press that their goals to move beyond B033 have been achieved, I can't quite grasp - 'moving beyond' something is wholly different from describing where a body is at a given moment. If logic doesn't show them this maybe they should review the basic laws of physics....
They appear also to suppose that no one in the UK reads the paper or is otherwise aware of the obviously different spin from theirs that is being put on the GC's actions."

The very same dissonance between the PB letters and the Integrity press releases caught my attention as yours. Your post here laying it all out is excellent (I would think it even clearer w/o the Paul Simon and Bob Dylan lyrics, in fact). It needs to be said louder and more noticeably.

Marie Blocher said...

"Who do they think they are fooling? The Archbishop of Canterbury? Do they think he's that stupid?"

Nah, they just think is is one of those uneducated third world primates who doesn't understand the English language very well,
Like Akinola, and Orombi!

Anonymous said...

I think that they are giving Rowan Williams words that they want him to use in his response to the worldwide communion.

Dr. Mabuse said...

It reminds me of the traditional duplicity of Arab spokesmen, who make one speech in English for the foreigners, promising all sorts of wonderful changes and possibilities (usually regarding Israel's right to exist), then make another speech in Arabic to their own followers, stoking the flames and assuring them of their eternal enmity to and coming victory over the various Satans arrayed against them.