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Breaking Text: Response to the Primates

Tuesday, September 25, 2007 • 5:18 pm


House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church
New Orleans, Louisiana
September 25, 2007

A Response to Questions and Concerns Raised by our Anglican Communion Partners:
In accordance with Our Lord’s high priestly prayer that we be one, and in the spirit of Resolution A159 of the 75th General Convention, and in obedience to his Great Commission to go into the world and make disciples, and in gratitude for the gift of the Anglican Communion as a sign of the Holy Spirit’s ongoing work of reconciliation throughout the world, we offer the following to The Episcopal Church, the Primates, the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC), and the larger Communion, with the hope of “mending the tear in the fabric” of our common life in Christ.

“I do it all for the sake of the Gospel so that I might share in its blessings.”
1 Corinthians 9:23.

Introduction
The House of Bishops expresses sincere and heartfelt thanks to the Archbishop of Canterbury and members of the Joint Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates for accepting our invitation to join us in New Orleans. By their presence they have both honored us and assisted us in our discernment. Their presence was a living reminder of the unity that is Christ’s promised gift in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Much of our meeting time was spent in continuing discernment of our relationships within the Anglican Communion. We engaged in careful listening and straightforward dialogue with our guests. We expressed our passionate desire to remain in communion. It is our conviction that The Episcopal Church needs the Anglican Communion, and we heard from our guests that the Anglican Communion needs The Episcopal Church.

The House of Bishops offers the following responses to our Anglican Communion partners.  We believe they provide clarity and point toward next steps in an ongoing process of dialogue.  Within The Episcopal Church the common discernment of God’s call is a lively partnership among laypersons, bishops, priests, and deacons, and therefore necessarily includes the Presiding Bishop, the Executive Council, and the General Convention.

Summary

  * We reconfirm that resolution B033 of General Convention 2006 (The Election Of Bishops) calls upon bishops with jurisdiction and Standing Committees “to exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion.”
  * We pledge as a body not to authorize public rites for the blessing of same-sex unions.
  * We commend our Presiding Bishop’s plan for episcopal visitors.
  * We deplore incursions into our jurisdictions by uninvited bishops and call for them to end.
  * We support the Presiding Bishop in seeking communion-wide consultation in a manner that is in accord with our Constitution and Canons.
  * We call for increasing implementation of the listening process across the Communion and for a report on its progress to Lambeth 2008.
  * We support the Archbishop of Canterbury in his expressed desire to explore ways for the Bishop of New Hampshire to participate in the Lambeth Conference.
  * We call for unequivocal and active commitment to the civil rights, safety, and dignity of gay and lesbian persons.

Discussion

Resolution B033 of the 2006 General Convention

The House of Bishops concurs with Resolution EC011 of the Executive Council. This Resolution commends the Report of the Communion Sub-Group of the Joint Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates of the Anglican Communion as an accurate evaluation of Resolution B033 of the 2006 General Convention, calling upon bishops with jurisdiction and Standing Committees “to exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion.”  The House acknowledges that non-celibate gay and lesbian persons are included among those to whom B033 pertains.

Blessing of Same-Sex Unions

We, the members of the House of Bishops, pledge not to authorize for use in our dioceses any public rites of blessing of same-sex unions until a broader consensus emerges in the Communion, or until General Convention takes further action. In the near future we hope to be able to draw upon the benefits of the Communion-wide listening process. In the meantime, it is important to note that no rite of blessing for persons living in same-sex unions has been adopted or approved by our General Convention. In addition to not having authorized liturgies the majority of bishops do not make allowance for the blessing of same-sex unions. We do note that in May 2003 the Primates said we have a pastoral duty “to respond with love and understanding to people of all sexual orientations.” They further stated, “…[I]t is necessary to maintain a breadth of private response to situations of individual pastoral care.”

Episcopal Visitors

We affirm the Presiding Bishop’s plan to appoint episcopal visitors for dioceses that request alternative oversight. Such oversight would be provided by bishops who are a part of and subject to the communal life of this province. We believe this plan is consistent with and analogous to Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight (DEPO) as affirmed by the Windsor Report (paragraph 152). We thank those bishops who have generously offered themselves for this ministry. We hope that dioceses will make use of this plan and that the Presiding Bishop will continue conversation with those dioceses that may feel the need for such ministries. We appreciate and need to hear all voices in The Episcopal Church.

Incursions by Uninvited Bishops

We call for an immediate end to diocesan incursions by uninvited bishops in accordance with the Windsor Report and consistent with the statements of past Lambeth Conferences and the Ecumenical Councils of the Church. Such incursions imperil common prayer and long-established ecclesial principles of our Communion. These principles include respect for local jurisdiction and recognition of the geographical boundaries of dioceses and provinces. As we continue to commit ourselves to honor both the spirit and the content of the Windsor Report, we call upon those provinces and bishops engaging in such incursions likewise to honor the Windsor Report by ending them. We offer assurance that delegated episcopal pastoral care is being provided for those who seek it.

Communion-wide Consultation

In their communiqué of February 2007, the Primates proposed a “pastoral scheme.” At our meeting in March 2007, we expressed our deep concern that this scheme would compromise the authority of our own primate and place the autonomy of The Episcopal Church at risk. The Executive Council reiterated our concerns and declined to participate. Nevertheless, we recognize a useful role for communion-wide consultation with respect to the pastoral needs of those seeking alternative oversight, as well as the pastoral needs of gay and lesbian persons in this and other provinces. We encourage our Presiding Bishop to continue to explore such consultation in a manner that is in accord with our Constitution and Canons.

The Listening Process

The 1998 Lambeth Conference called all the provinces of the Anglican Communion to engage in a “listening process” designed to bring gay and lesbian Anglicans fully into the Church’s conversation about human sexuality. We look forward to receiving initial reports about this process at the 2008 Lambeth Conference and to participating with others in this crucial enterprise. We are aware that in some cultural contexts conversation concerning homosexuality is difficult. We see an important role for the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) in this listening process, since it represents both the lay and ordained members of our constituent churches, and so is well-placed to engage every part of the body in this conversation. We encourage the ACC to identify the variety of resources needed to accomplish these conversations.

The Lambeth Conference

Invitations to the Lambeth Conference are extended by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Those among us who have received an invitation to attend the 2008 Lambeth Conference look forward to that gathering with hope and expectation. Many of us are engaged in mission partnerships with bishops and dioceses around the world and cherish these relationships. Lambeth offers a wonderful opportunity to build on such partnerships.

We are mindful that the Bishop of New Hampshire has not yet received an invitation to the conference. We also note that the Archbishop of Canterbury has expressed a desire to explore a way for him to participate.  We share the Archbishop’s desire and encourage our Presiding Bishop to offer our assistance as bishops in this endeavor. It is our fervent hope that a way can be found for his full participation.

Justice and Dignity for Gay and Lesbian Persons

It is of fundamental importance that, as we continue to seek consensus in matters of human sexuality, we also be clear and outspoken in our shared commitment to establish and protect the civil rights of gay and lesbian persons, and to name and oppose at every turn any action or policy that does violence to them, encourages violence toward them, or violates their dignity as children of God. We call all our partners in the Anglican Communion to recommit to this effort. As we stated at the conclusion of our meeting in March 2007: “We proclaim the Gospel of what God has done and is doing in Christ, of the dignity of every human being, and of justice, compassion and peace.  We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ there is no Jew or Greek, no male or female, no slave or free.  We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ all God’s children, including women, are full and equal participants in the life of Christ’s Church.  We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ all God’s children, including gay and lesbian persons, are full and equal participants in the life of Christ’s Church.  We proclaim the Gospel that stands against any violence, including violence done to women and children as well as those who are persecuted because of their differences, often in the name of God.”


The numbered version:

5 House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church
6 New Orleans, Louisiana
7 September 25, 2007
8
9
10
11
12 A Response to Questions and Concerns Raised by our Anglican Communion Partners:
13
14
15 In accordance with Our Lord’s high priestly prayer that we be one, and in the spirit of Resolution
16 A159 of the 75th General Convention, and in obedience to his Great Commission to go into the
17 world and make disciples, and in gratitude for the gift of the Anglican Communion as a sign of
18 the Holy Spirit’s ongoing work of reconciliation throughout the world, we offer the following to
19 The Episcopal Church, the Primates, the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC)I and the larger
20 Communion, with the hope of “mending the tear in the fabric” of our common life in Christ.
21
22 “I do it all for the sake of the Gospel so that I might share in its blessings.”
23 1 Corinthians 9:19, 13.
24
25
26 Introduction
27
28 The House of Bishops expresses sincere and heartfelt thanks to the Archbishop of Canterbury
29 and members of the Joint Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council and the
30 Primates for accepting our invitation to join us in New Orleans. By their presence they have both
31 honored us and assisted us in our discernment. Their presence was a living reminder of the unity
32 that is Christ’s promised gift in the power of the Holy Spirit.
33 

34 Much of our meeting time was spent in continuing discernment of our relationships within the
35 Anglican Communion. We engaged in careful listening and straightforward dialogue with our
36 guests. We expressed our passionate desire to remain in communion. It is our conviction that The
37 Episcopal Church needs the Anglican Communion, and we heard from our guests that the
38 Anglican Communion needs The Episcopal Church.
39 

40 The House of Bishops offers the following responses to our Anglican Communion partners. We
41 believe they provide clarity and point toward next steps in an ongoing process of dialogue.
42 Within The Episcopal Church the common discernment of God’s call is a lively partnership:
43 among laypersons, bishops, priests, and deacons, and therefore necessarily includes the Presiding
44 Bishop, the Executive Council, and the General Convention.
45
46
47
48
49
50 Summary
51
52 We reconfirm that resolution B033 of General Convention 2006 (The Election Of
53 Bishops) calls upon bishops with jurisdiction and Standing Committees “to exercise
54 restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate whose
55 manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on
56 communion.”
57 We pledge as a body not to authorize public rites for the blessing of same-sex unions.
58 We commend our Presiding Bishop’s plan for episcopal visitors.
59 We deplore incursions into our jurisdictions by uninvited bishops and call for them to•
60 end.
61 We support the Presiding Bishop in seeking communion-wide consultation in a manner
62 that is in accord with our Constitution and Canons.
63 We call for increasing implementation of the listening process across the Communion
64 and for a report on its progress to Lambeth 2008.
65 We support the Archbishop of Canterbury in his expressed desire to explore ways for the
66 Bishop of New Hampshire to participate in the Lambeth Conference.
67 We call for unequivocal and active commitment to the civil rights, safety, and dignity of
68 gay and lesbian persons.
69
70 Discussion
71
72 Resolution B033 of the 2006 General Convention
73
74 The House of Bishops concurs with Resolution ECO11 of the Executive Council. This Resolution
75 commends the Report of the Communion Sub-Group of the Joint Standing Committee of the
76 Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates of the Anglican Communion as an accurate
77 evaluation of Resolution B033 of the 2006 General Convention, calling upon bishops with
78 jurisdiction and Standing Committees “to exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration
79 of any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church
80 and will lead to further strains on communion. The House acknowledges that non-celibate gay
81 and lesbian persons are included among those to whom B033 pertains.
82
83 Blessing of Same-Sex Unions
84
85 We, the members of the House of Bishops, pledge not to authorize for use in our dioceses any
86 public rites of blessing of same-sex unions until a broader consensus emerges in the
87 Communion, or until General Convention takes further action. In the near future we hope to be
88 able to draw upon the benefits of the Communion-wide listening process. In the meantime, it is
89 important to note that no rite of blessing for persons living in same-sex unions has been adopted
90 or approved by our General Convention. In addition to not having authorized liturgies the
91 majority of bishops do not make allowance for the blessing of same-sex unions. We do note that
92 in May 2003 the Primates said we have a pastoral duty “to respond with love and understanding
93 to people of all sexual orientations.” They further stated, ” ...[I]t is necessary to maintain a
94 breadth of private response to situations of individual pastoral care.”
95
96 Episcopal Visitors
97
98 We affirm the Presiding Bishop’s plan to appoint episcopal visitors for dioceses that request
99 alternative oversight. Such oversight would be provided by bishops who are a part of and subject
100 to the communal life of this province. We believe this plan is consistent with and analogous to
101 Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight (DEPO) as affirmed by the Windsor Report (paragraph
102 152). We thank those bishops who have generously offered themselves for this ministry. We
103 hope that dioceses will make use of this plan and that the Presiding Bishop will continue
104 conversation with those dioceses that may feel the need for such ministries. We appreciate and
105 need to hear all voices in The Episcopal Church.
106
107 Incursions by Uninvited Bishops
108
109 We call for an immediate end to diocesan incursions by uninvited bishops in accordance with the
110 Windsor Report and consistent with the statements of past Lambeth Conferences and the
111 Ecumenical Councils of the Church. Such incursions imperil common prayer and long-
112 established ecclesial principles of our Communion. These principles include respect for local
113 jurisdiction and recognition of the geographical boundaries of dioceses and provinces. As we
114 continue to commit ourselves to honor both the spirit and the content of the Windsor Report, we
115 call upon those provinces and bishops engaging in such incursions likewise to honor the Windsor
116 Report by ending them. We offer assurance that delegated episcopal pastoral care is being
117 provided for those who seek it.
118
119 Communion-wide Consultation
120
121 In their communique of February 2007, the Primates proposed a “pastoral scheme.” At our .
122 meeting in March 2007, we expressed our deep concern that this scheme would compromise the
123 authority of our own primate and place the autonomy of The Episcopal Church at risk. The
124 Executive Council reiterated our concerns and declined to participate. Nevertheless, we
125 recognize a useful role for communion-wide consultation with respect to the pastoral needs of
126 those seeking alternative oversight, as well as the pastoral needs of gay and lesbian persons in
127 this and other provinces. We encourage our Presiding Bishop to continue to explore such
128 consultation in a manner that is in accord with our Constitution and Canons.
129
130 The Listening Process
131
132 The 1998 Lambeth Conference called all the provinces of the Anglican Communion to engage in
133 a “listening process” designed to bring gay and lesbian Anglicans fully into the Church’s
134 conversation about human sexuality. We look forward to receiving initial reports about this
135 process at the 2008 Lambeth Conference and to participating with others in this crucial
136 enterprise. We are aware that in some cultural contexts conversation concerning homosexuality
137 is difficult. We see an important role for the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) in this.
138 listening process, since it represents both the lay and ordained members of our constituent
139 churches, and so is well-placed to engage every part of the body in this conversation. We
140 encourage the ACC to identify the variety of resources needed to accomplish these
141 conversations.
142
143 The Lambeth Conference
144
145 Invitations to the Lambeth Conference are extended by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Those
146 among us who have received an invitation to attend the 2008 Lambeth Conference look forward
147 to that gathering with hope and expectation. Many of us are engaged in mission partnerships with
148 bishops and dioceses around the world and cherish these relationships. Lambeth offers a
149 wonderful opportunity to build on such partnerships.
150
151 We are mindful that the Bishop of New Hampshire has not yet received an invitation to the
152 conference. We also note that the Archbishop of Canterbury has expressed a desire to explore a
153 way for him to participate. We share the Archbishop’s desire and encourage our Presiding
154 Bishop to offer our assistance as bishops in this endeavor. It is our fervent hope that a way can be
155 found for his full participation.
156
157 Justice and Dignity for Gay and Lesbian Persons
158
159 It is of fundamental importance that, as we continue to seek consensus in matters of human
160 sexuality, we also be clear and outspoken in our shared commitment to establish and protect the
161 civil rights of gay and lesbian persons, and to name and oppose at every turn any action or policy
162 that does violence to them, encourages violence toward them, or violates their dignity as children
163 of God. We call all our partners in the Anglican Communion to recommit to this effort. As we
164 stated at the conclusion of our meeting in March 2007: “We proclaim the Gospel of what God
165 has done and is doing in Christ, of the dignity of every human being, and of justice, compassion
166 and peace. We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ there is no Jew or Greek, no male or female,
167 no slave or free. We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ all God’s children, including women, are
168 full and equal participants in the life of Christ’s Church. We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ
169 all God’s children, including gay and lesbian believers, are full and equal participants in the life
170 of Christ’s Church. We proclaim the Gospel that stands against any violence, including violence
171 done to women and children as well as those who are persecuted because of their differences,
172 often in the name of God.”


Footnote to Line 80 -The Communion Sub-Group noted that “the resolution uses the language of ‘restraint,’ and the group noted that there has been considerable discussion since General Convention about the exact force of that word. By requiring that the restraint must be expressed in a particular way - ‘by not consenting ... ‘. however the resolution is calling for a precise response, which complies with the force of the recommendation of the Windsor Report.” The group also noted “that while the Windsor Report
restricted its recommendation to candidates for the episcopate who were living in a same gender union, the resolution at General Convention widened this stricture to apply to a range of lifestyles which present a wider challenge. The group welcomed this widening of the principle, which was also recommended by the Windsor Report, and commend it to the Communion.”


257 Comments • Print-friendlyPrint-friendly w/commentsShare on Facebook
Comments:

Does ‘We pledge as a body not to authorize public rites for the blessing
of same-sex unions’ preclude each bishop (or any bishop) from authorizing them individually?

[1] Posted by Africanised Anglican on 09-25-2007 at 05:24 PM • top

They won’t authorize them, but the question is will they discipline those who conduct those ceremonies?

[2] Posted by John316 on 09-25-2007 at 05:28 PM • top

AA - I think the key is “public” v “private”.  The loophole is that a Bp does not auth a liturgy or public ceremony, but tells priests its ok to provide “pastoral care” to ss couples.

[3] Posted by usma87 on 09-25-2007 at 05:28 PM • top

It is difficult to see what all the delay and drafting was about.  They could have come to NO with this already in their pockets. 
    I hope there will be a minority report.

[4] Posted by Dick Mitchell on 09-25-2007 at 05:29 PM • top

This is meaningless. The potion all along has been that SSB rites have not been authorized, yet such “rites” continue in almost every diocese with at least the tacit approval of the bishop. These people have no integrity.

[5] Posted by Jeff Thimsen on 09-25-2007 at 05:30 PM • top

I hate to say I told you so, but I predicted that they would respond to the issue of same-sex blessings this way when the Tanzania communique didn’t use the language of stopping all the blessings—they can say that they have heeded the primates by not authorizing any liturgies officially, even though blessings are happening left and right in some of their dioceses.

[6] Posted by Chazzy on 09-25-2007 at 05:30 PM • top

More B033 waffling and more SSB loopholes.

[7] Posted by Sparky on 09-25-2007 at 05:32 PM • top

My response at Reformed Pastor to the SSBs point:

Also known, as of today, as the “Bruno shuffle.”

[8] Posted by David Fischler on 09-25-2007 at 05:33 PM • top

The fudge factory has been going full steam. Can anybody think that this will be acceptable to the Global South? I guess the ABC has already decided to let them drift and stick by the white liberal North.

[9] Posted by flabellum on 09-25-2007 at 05:33 PM • top

In short, TEC will not say, clearly and without hesitation, that it will abide by Windsor or Dar es Salaam.  It WILL, however, continue to engage in double-speak as a means of trying to get around what the rest of the Communion is asking for.  Why, at this point, anyone with a lick of sense doesn’t walk away is beyond me.

[10] Posted by Puritan Souls on 09-25-2007 at 05:35 PM • top

“The listening process’ again.  The Windsor report did not say anything about a “process.”  It simply asked bishops and clergy to be sensitive to those who have same-sex attraction and to seek to understand their struggles.  There was no request for some kind of long, drawn-out program.

And “pastoral care” does not mean that it is OK to bless sinful behavior.  Pastoral care to a bank robber in prison does not mean helping him escape and to bless his weapon for another robbery attempt.  Pastoral care means helping someone to know Jesus better and to help them want to be more obedient to his will.

[11] Posted by AnglicanXn on 09-25-2007 at 05:35 PM • top

So does this mean the TEC bishops don’t want my CANA bishop coming to Colorado to visit our CANA congregation? And by extension, does that mean the Pope can’t come to American without KSJ’s permission—just need to know the size of the egos we are dealing with here—because from where I sit you never can tell.

To all TECies—while your bishops were killing the Communion, our bishop, +Minns, was visiting CANA clergy children away at college—now that is the church I grew up in…and for that matter, am still in.

[12] Posted by Don Armstrong on 09-25-2007 at 05:35 PM • top

Have they told Bisop Iker who his “episcopal visitor” will be?  I know he will want to provide for their every need from the moment they cross the FT Worth diocese line…..

[13] Posted by Dee in Iowa on 09-25-2007 at 05:36 PM • top

Well, thirty years from now, when these bishops are sitting around their firesides with their grandsons on their knees, and they ask them, “What did you do when the Anglican Communion was falling apart,” they’ll now have to say, “Well, I shoved s**t in Louisiana.”

[14] Posted by VaAnglican on 09-25-2007 at 05:36 PM • top

John316 and USMA87, I think you are both right—but I wonder whether the ‘as a body’ language imports yet another, still larger, loophole:  does the house of bishops hereby limit its ‘self-restraint’ so as only to preclude action ‘as a body’?  Obviously, the previously-existing loopholes are still there.

[15] Posted by Africanised Anglican on 09-25-2007 at 05:38 PM • top

Loophole in line 87: “or until General Convention takes further action.”

[16] Posted by Connie Sandlin on 09-25-2007 at 05:41 PM • top

ENS has the full document here.

[17] Posted by David Fischler on 09-25-2007 at 05:42 PM • top

I think the House has given a definitive, if not clear, response. And that answer is, “Hell no!”

I also think that the Anglican Communion is no more. Some primates will split; others cave in. Several provinces will splinter into multiple “continuing churches.”

Putting on my swim suit.

What’s the water like in the Bosphorus?

[18] Posted by Ken Peck on 09-25-2007 at 05:44 PM • top

Africanised One:

No.  You are correctly reading what is not being said between the lines.  They are committing to a hypothetical/future course of events that they want to believe is addressing the hypothetical/future course of events that they pretend the Primates were addressing in their communique.  They are not addressing the actual practice that is and has been going on in diocese after diocese (that has been so very well-chronicled on StandFirm today), which is the main purpose of this particular Primates request for clarification.  The pseudo-private blessing and/or commitment ceremonies that have been only semi-officially authorized by individual bishops for their individual dioceses are untouched by this resolution.  This is very bad liturgical dancing around the elephant in the room, and is the work of very clever, but in the end, very juvenile legal minds.  This is a disgrace.

[19] Posted by young joe from old oc on 09-25-2007 at 05:44 PM • top

There is clarity regarding B033<blockquote>The House
acknowledges that non-celibate gay 81 and lesbian persons are included among those to whom B033 pertains. </blockqote>
This is a huge admission and DeS compliant .

I expected the fudge on public rites and it will be up to the Primates to discern and critique.

The DEPO provisions stink as the fox is still guarding the henhouse.

There is nothing about the cessation of lawsuits - which cessation might be enough to bring some of us back into discussion.

[20] Posted by Fr Ian on 09-25-2007 at 05:44 PM • top

The General Convention exception in this response runs 180 counter to what the bishops were asked to do.  Indeed, I think this is in fact an invitation to (a newly radicalized) GC to authorize SSBs in 2009 and get the bishops off the hook.  Certainly you will now see all energy of Louie Crew’s bunch focused on getting GC action to affirm SSBs.  And with all the orthodox bailing now, they will succeed.

[21] Posted by VaAnglican on 09-25-2007 at 05:45 PM • top

A more readable form is up at Episcope.

Over at Fr. Jake’s, “honest” liberal Bill Carroll had this to say:

If accurate, this seems cowardly to me.
Bill Carroll | Homepage | 09.25.07 - 6:24 pm

I think I would have to agree.  So what do we have?

1. On consecration of non-celibate homosexual (NCH) bishops.  This statement says “acknowledges that non-celibate gay and lesbian persons are included among those to whom B033 pertains.”  Thus, no NCH bishops till GC 2009, when B-033 will be repealed.

2. On SSB’s.  This statement says that the bishops “pledge not to authorize for use in our dioceses any public rites of blessing of same-sex unions” until a new consensus emerges.  Two problems here.  It does not pledge to stop authorizing “rites of SSB’s” as actions, it only pledges to stop authorizing “Rites of SSB’s” as official liturgies.  In other words,  the Primates concerns stated as

However, we understand that local pastoral provision is made in some places for such blessings. It is the ambiguous stance of The Episcopal Church which causes concern among us

are not addressed.

3. On alternative episcopal oversight.  What is offered is a DEPO plan for dioceses.  Nothing is provided for parishes other than DEPO which clearly does not work.

This simply does not cut it.  The only thing that this statement addresses is the consecration of NCH bishops, and that is only till GC 2009.

The big question is - will there be a minority report, or have Dr. Seitz’s CA bishops all drunk the KoolAid?

[22] Posted by jamesw on 09-25-2007 at 05:45 PM • top

Section 21 of the Dar es Salaam communique reads
<blockquote>21. However, secondly, we believe that there remains a lack of clarity about the stance of The Episcopal Church, especially its position on the authorisation of Rites of Blessing for persons living in same-sex unions.  There appears to us to be an inconsistency between the position of General Convention and local pastoral provision.  We recognise that the General Convention made no explicit resolution about such Rites and in fact declined to pursue resolutions which, if passed, could have led to the development and authorisation of them.  However, we understand that local pastoral provision is made in some places for such blessings.  It is the ambiguous stance of The Episcopal Church which causes concern among us. </blockquote
The ambiguity is gone.  The HOB has effectively said that rites of SSBs are happening and will continue in a minority of dioceses.  I think the primates will accept the assurance regarding Episcopal consecrations, but continued SSBs will be the choke point.  We’ll see what happens.

[23] Posted by Ed McNeill on 09-25-2007 at 05:47 PM • top

Have they told Bisop Iker who his “episcopal visitor” will be?  I know he will want to provide for their every need from the moment they cross the FT Worth diocese line…..

Very perceptive, for that is the true purpose of the “episcopal visitor”- to shove liberal bishops into every conservative diocese.  In the end, there will be 10 somewhat conservative episcopal visitors trying to pastor conservative congregations in 90 dioceses, and 90 liberal episcopal visitors invading the 10 conservative dioceses.

[24] Posted by tjmcmahon on 09-25-2007 at 05:47 PM • top

Usma and AA,

In the explanatory document, which Episcope has up btw, you see a quotation of the Primates Statement of 2003 which reads,

“We do note that in May 2003 the Primates said we have a pastoral duty “to respond with love and understanding to people of all sexual orientations.” They further stated, “...[I]t is necessary to maintain a breadth of private response to situations of individual pastoral care.”


Public vs. Private raises some interesting questions. No one has to be invited to a wedding. It is a *public* service of Christian worship at a church.

A house blessing with a blessing of a couple is a different story. It would be considered a *private* pastoral care response.

To expect that Private pastoral care responses to individuals will stop is wishful thinking at best. What might happen is that PUBLIC services may cease (and they should). And yes, that includes in +Bruno’s diocese.

Jeff Thimsen, SSBs (a PUBLIC rite with a stated liturgical form) have been authorized in a minority of dioceses. Out of the 110, I would guess in no more than 15-20.

Don Armstrong, no comment.

Dee, I would guess his visitor would be +James Stanton, a Bishop who already has a positive cooperative relationship with +Iker. +Stanton’s name was on the list of 8. I thought that was exactly why he was.

[25] Posted by frrememberthat on 09-25-2007 at 05:53 PM • top

frrememberthat:

What might happen is that PUBLIC services may cease (and they should). And yes, that includes in +Bruno’s diocese.

No, it won’t mean that.  It only means that Bruno will not authorize an official liturgy for public SSB’s.  Public SSB’s will continue.  Nothing in this statement suggests that they won’t.

[26] Posted by jamesw on 09-25-2007 at 06:00 PM • top

A quick reading finds mention of the Windsor Report   ONLY in the paragraph on incursions except maybe for some footnotes.  What a joke!  This is sheer arrogance—but who can be surprised.  It gives yet one more dose of clarity—and that will help when our Godly friends meet in a couple days in Pittsburgh.  Blessings on them as they chart our future course.

[27] Posted by hanks on 09-25-2007 at 06:01 PM • top

What about the lesbian who is a candidate for the bishopric of Chicago? Oh the sheer injustice of it all!

[28] Posted by via orthodoxy on 09-25-2007 at 06:03 PM • top

If Bp. Stanton is an “Episcopal Visitor” does this mean that Dallas will stay in TEC forever?  Under Schiori?

[29] Posted by godis4us on 09-25-2007 at 06:04 PM • top

frrememberthat, +Stanton and +Iker already have a relationship - it’s called the Dallas Plan.  I believe it allows aspirants and congregations that can’t follow one of them to be under the supervision of the other.  But I can’t imagine one bishop accepting “alternate primatial oversight” from a peer like that.

[30] Posted by Cindy T. in TX on 09-25-2007 at 06:09 PM • top

via orthodoxy, I think it does mean the lesbian candidate for bishop in Chicago gets thrown under the bus for now (I had to use a violent metaphor, because now we all know that doing anything that isn’t consistent with what they want is “violence.”).  That’s not because they don’t desperately want a lesbian bishop, it’s because that could mess up the Lambeth invitations.  Integrity has its limits, you know (no pun intended).  Her defeat will be trumpeted (until after Lambeth) as evidence they took seriously the sacrifice they made in B033.

[31] Posted by VaAnglican on 09-25-2007 at 06:09 PM • top

What about the lesbian who is a candidate for the bishopric of Chicago?

  I am thinking that for most of us the question will be academic in a few weeks, after the smoke clears a bit from the Common Cause meeting, we will be Common Cause Anglicans, Catholics, Orthodox or in Reformed Churches.  ‘Cause I don’t see any Primatial Vicar/Pastoral council here anywhere.  And without that, it will be effectively impossible to remain in TEC.

[32] Posted by tjmcmahon on 09-25-2007 at 06:12 PM • top

Ken Peck,
Come on in….the water in the Bosphorus is fine.  More than fine….warm and safe and life-giving.

[33] Posted by Teacozy on 09-25-2007 at 06:18 PM • top

On SSB’s they have exactly tracked the language of DES, except in the addition of the adjective “public” to “Rites of Blessing”.

Interestingly, the paragraphs of the Windsor Report that DES refers to themselves use the adjective “public”. It seems a fair assessment therefore that the DES communique had “public” Rites in mind, and on any reasonable view the HOB have indicated that they will comply with the paragraphs of the WR identified in the DES communique.

I think it would be rather had to say that the text is not compliant. Whether some bishops’ practices are compliant with their pledge is another matter ...

[34] Posted by Paul Stanley on 09-25-2007 at 06:21 PM • top

It sounded like the only NO vote was Wolfe…am I to understand that the Camp Allen bishops all signed on to this?

[35] Posted by johnp on 09-25-2007 at 06:22 PM • top

No guts, no Glory!

[36] Posted by Fr.Ed on 09-25-2007 at 06:23 PM • top

Matt

Here is a cleaned up version

House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church New Orleans, Louisiana

September 25, 2007

A Response to Questions and Concerns Raised by our Anglican Communion

Partners:

In accordance with Our Lord’s high priestly prayer that we be one, and in the spirit of Resolution ” A159 of the 75th General Convention, and in obedience to his Great Commission to go into the world and make disciples, and in gratitude for the gift of the Anglican Communion as a sign of the Holy Spirit’s ongoing work of reconciliation throughout the world, we offer the following to The Episcopal Church, the Primates, the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC), and the larger Communion, with the hope of “mending the tear in the fabric” of our common life in Christ.

“I do it all for the sake of the Gospel so that I might share in its blessings.” 1 Corinthians 9: 19,13.

Introduction

The House of Bishops expresses sincere and heartfelt thanks to the Archbishop of Canterbury and members of the Joint Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council and the, Primates for accepting our invitation to join us in New Orleans. By their presence they have both

honored us and assisted us in our discernment. Their presence was a living reminder of the unity that is Christ’s promised gift in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Much of our meeting time was spent in continuing discernment of our relationships within the Anglican Communion. We engaged in careful listening and straightforward dialogue with our guests. We expressed our passionate desire to remain in communion. It is our conviction that The

Episcopal Church needs the Anglican Communion, and we heard from our guests"that the Anglican Communion needs The Episcopal Church”.

The House of Bishops offers the following responses to our Anglican Communion partners. We believe they provide clarity and point toward next steps in an ongoing process of dialogue. Within The Episcopal Church the common discernment of God’s call is a lively partnership among laypersons, bishops, priests, and deacons, and therefore necessarily includes the Presiding Bishop, the Executive Council, and the General Convention.

Summary

We reconfirm that resolution B033 of General Convention 2006 (The Election Of Bishops) calls upon bishops with jurisdiction and Standing Committees “to exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion.”

We pledge as a body not to authorize public rites for the blessing of same-sex unions.

We commend our Presiding Bishop’s plan for episcopal visitors.

We deplore incursions into our jurisdictions by uninvited bishops and call for them to·end.


We support the Presiding Bishop in seeking communion-wide consultation in a manner that is in accord with our Constitution and Canons.

We call for increasing implementation of the listening process across the Communion and for a report on its progress to Lambeth 2008.

We support the Archbishop of Canterbury in his expressed desire to explore ways for the Bishop of New Hampshire to participate in the Lambeth Conference.

We call for unequivocal and active commitment to the civil rights, safety, and dignity of gay and lesbian persons.

Discussion

Resolution B033 of the 2006 General Convention

The House of Bishops concurs with Resolution ECO 11 of the Executive Council. This Resolution commends the Report of the Communion Sub-Group of the Joint Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates of the Anglican Communion as an accurate evaluation of Resolution B033 of the 2006 General Convention, calling upon bishops with “jurisdiction and Standing Committees “to exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion.. The House acknowledges that non-celibate gay and lesbian persons are included among those to whom B033 pertains.

Blessing of Same-Sex Unions

We, the members of the House of Bishops, pledge not to authorize for use in our dioceses any public rites of blessing of same-sex unions until a broader consensus emerges in the Communion, or until General Convention takes further action. In the near future we hope to be able to draw upon the benefits of the Communion-wide listening process. In the meantime, it is important to

note that no rite of blessing for persons living in same-sex unions has been adopted or approved by our General Convention. In addition to not having authorized liturgies the The Communion Subgroup noted that “the resolution uses the language of restraint and the group notes that there has been considerable discussion since General Convention about the exact force of that word. By requiring that the restraint must be expressed in a particular way - ’ by not consenting ... ‘. however. the resolution is calling for a precise response, which complies with the force of the recommendation of the Windsor Report.” The group also noted “that while the Windsor Report restricted its recommendation to candidates for the episcopate who were living in a same gender union, the resolution at General Convention widened this stricture to apply to a range of lifestyles which present a wider challenge. The group welcomed this widening of the principle, which was also recommended by the Windsor Report, and commend it to the Communion.”

B003

A majority of bishops do not make allowance for the blessing of same-sex unions. We do note that in May 2003 the Primates said we have a pastoral duty “to respond with love and understanding to people of all sexual orientations.” They further stated, ” It is necessary to maintain a breadth of private response to situations of individual pastoral care.”

Episcopal Visitors

We affirm the Presiding Bishop’s plan to appoint episcopal visitors for dioceses that request alternative oversight. Such oversight would be provided by bishops who are a part of and subject to the communal life of this province. We believe this plan is consistent with and analogous to Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight (DEPO) as affirmed by the Windsor Report (paragraph 102 152). We thank those bishops who have generously offered themselves for this ministry. We hope that dioceses will make use of this plan and that the Presiding Bishop will continue in conversation with those dioceses that may feel the need for such ministries. We appreciate and need to hear all voices in The Episcopal Church.

Incursions by Uninvited Bishops

We call for an immediate end to diocesan incursions by uninvited bishops in accordance with the Windsor Report and consistent with the statements of past Lambeth Conferences and the Ecumenical Councils of the Church. Such incursions imperil common prayer and long-established ecclesiastic principles of our Communion. These principles include respect for local jurisdiction and recognition of the geographical boundaries of dioceses and provinces. As we continue to commit ourselves to honor both the spirit and the content of the Windsor Report,;we call upon those provinces and bishops engaging in such incursions likewise to honor the Windsor Report by ending them. We offer assurance that delegated episcopal pastoral care is being provided for those who seek it.

More to follow

[37] Posted by CradleEpisc on 09-25-2007 at 06:25 PM • top

When the original draft resolution came out yesterday (long, long ago…) it was panned by everybody for its non-responsiveness.  Has anyone checked to see whether this piece of disingenuous rubbish is any more responsive?

Bruno/Beers’ 815 was terrified that they might lose control, and the near-universal negative reaction to yesterday’s draft doubtless exacerbated that fear.  But they didn’t.

Note that once again the full final resolution was popped out of the super-secret hat at the very last minute under circumstances where it could only be voted up or down as a whole, and the only alternative was no resolution at all.  Very neat; Bruno/Schori’s all-nighter saved the regime from actually having to deal with a “democratic polity.”  Not, I suppose, that it would actually have made much difference…

[38] Posted by Craig Goodrich on 09-25-2007 at 06:25 PM • top

It is interesting.  B033, as mamby-pamby as it is, when it was passed was widely declared by the EpiscopalLeft to be The Worst Most Evil Church Statement Ever Passed.

Now it has been re-affirmed, and even clarified…specifying what kind of behavior was implied in it (non-celibate gays and lesbians).  Not that I care too much, but it will be interesting to see how this all plays out. 

Will cries of “injustice!” be heard through the land?  The odds against Rev. Lind getting elected and consecrated in Chicago are now extremely small.

But who knows?  If there is one thing I have faith in it is the Episcopalian ability to play word games.  Perhaps Rev. Lind will come out as a bisexual, thus being in a group not mentioned in today’s statement.

There is also one thing I know: GC 2009 is going to be extremely pro-homosexuality.  Perhaps a type of Affirmitive Action will be passed to ensure that Bishops will be non-celibate GLBT to compensate for the dark “Manner of Life years”.

Speaking of GLBT…you never hear about the “B” or the “T”.  But I digress.

DoW

[39] Posted by DietofWorms on 09-25-2007 at 06:26 PM • top

Communion-wide Consultation

In their communion of February 2007, the Primates proposed a “pastoral scheme.” At our meeting in March 2007, we expressed our deep concern that this scheme would compromise the authority of our own primate and place the autonomy of The Episcopal Church at risk. The Executive Council reiterated our concerns and declined to participate. Nevertheless, we recognize a useful role for communion-wide consultation with respect to the pastoral needs of those seeking alternative oversight, as well as the pastoral needs of gay and lesbian persons in this and other provinces. We encourage our Presiding Bishop to continue to explore such consultation in a manner that is in accord with our Constitution and Canons.

The Listening Process

The 1998 Lambeth Conference called all the provinces of the Anglican Communion to engage in a “listening process” designed to bring gay and lesbian Anglicans fully into the Church’s conversation about human sexuality. We look forward to receiving initial reports about this process at the 2008 Lambeth Conference and to participating with others in this crucial enterprise. We are aware that in some cultural contexts conversation concerning homosexuality is difficult. We see an important role for the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) in this listening process, since it represents both the lay and ordained members of our constituent churches, and so is well-placed to engage every part of the body in this conversation. We encourage the ACC to identify the variety of resources needed to accomplish these conversations.

The Lambeth Conference

Invitations to the Lambeth Conference are extended by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Those among us who have received an invitation to attend the 2008 Lambeth Conference look forward

to that gathering with hope and expectation. Many of us are engaged in mission partnerships with

bishops and dioceses around the world and cherish these relationships. Lambeth offers a wonderful opportunity to build on such partnerships.

We are mindful that the Bishop of New Hampshire has not yet received an invitation to the

conference. We also note that the Archbishop of Canterbury has expressed a desire to explore a

way for him to participate. We share the Archbishop’s desire and encourage our Presiding

Bishop to offer our assistance as bishops in this endeavor. It is our fervent hope that a way can be

found for his full participation.

Justice and Dignity for Gay and Lesbian Persons

It is of fundamental importance that, as we continue to seek consensus in matters of human sexuality, we also be clear and outspoken in our shared commitment to establish and protect the civil rights of gay and lesbian persons, and to name and oppose at every turn any action or policy that does violence to them, encourages violence toward them, or violates their dignity as children of God. We call all our partners in the Anglican Communion to recommit to this effort. As we stated at the conclusion of our meeting in March 2007: “We proclaim the Gospel of what has been done and is doing in Christ, of the dignity of every human being, and of justice, compassion and peace. We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ there is no Jew or Greek, no male or female, no slave or free. We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ all God’s children, including women are full and equal participants in the life of Christ’s Church. We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ all God’s children, including gay and lesbian believers, are full and equal participants in the life of Christ’s Church. We proclaim the Gospel that stands against any violence, including violence done to women and children as well as those who are persecuted because of their differences, often in the name of God.”

[40] Posted by CradleEpisc on 09-25-2007 at 06:26 PM • top

Diet of Worms:  My, my, you are impatient.  They have only done the ‘G’ and are just now working on the ‘L’.  Surely you can understand why they’ve not yet gotten to the ‘B’ and the ‘T’.  Rest easy, you can be sure that is coming.  And don’t worry about their running out of letters: new ones will be added, you can be sure.  (Although I think the ‘Q’—questioning—is more than represented in the HOB, at least as far as their faith is concerned.)  One step at a time . . . right, Louie?

[41] Posted by VaAnglican on 09-25-2007 at 06:30 PM • top

Regarding Africanised Anglican’s comment which was the first one in this thread, the wording of today’s HoB resolution saying, “We pledge as a body not to authorize public rites for the blessing of same-sex unions,” might have a familar ring.

The “as a body” language in one of the Primates’ communiques prior to VGR’s consecration was what Griswald used to justify his being the chief consecrator of VGR despite the fact that he had signed on to that communique. He said something similar to this, that because the body of primates had agreed to that statement “as a body” it applied to the group as a whole. It did not mean that he as an individual primate was bound by it. Just like Humpty Dumpty, “A word means what I want it to mean - nothing more, nothing less.”

Therefore any time you see the term “as a body” as part of a statement from the TEC, you know that whatever follows is worth nothing.

[42] Posted by Bill Thompson+ on 09-25-2007 at 06:32 PM • top

Great response, bishops!  Can’t wait to see what the proposed Anglican Covenant   will look like after you and Rowan have your way with that one!

[43] Posted by Africanised Anglican on 09-25-2007 at 06:36 PM • top

JamesW: If I read you right, I think you are missing an important word from B033: “restraint.” That is not a pledge not to do it, but to wrestle with the decision. Chicago delegates may not take that chance, but today’s resolution doesn’t absolutely rule out another non-celibate gay bishop.

Best wishes for your church-future from someone with the same initials for your front name and your back name (as Cajuns sometimes say).

Jim Workman

[44] Posted by folchal on 09-25-2007 at 06:37 PM • top

GLBT - Good Liberal Bishops Temporize

[45] Posted by Harry Edmon on 09-25-2007 at 06:41 PM • top

VaAnglican:

Excellent observations regarding how the episcopolitics are likely to play out.

[46] Posted by young joe from old oc on 09-25-2007 at 06:42 PM • top

  Chicago delegates may not take that chance

What chance?  As with New Hampshire, the local decision will carry great weight.  How could TEC argue with a decision led by the Holy Spirit?

[47] Posted by hanks on 09-25-2007 at 06:42 PM • top

And, of course, the litigation will continue until morale improves.

The silence on law suits speakes volumes about where TEC places its real focus on all this. Whatever else one might say about TEC, they do have the God/mammon thing down most solidly. TEC is firmly and always solidly down with mammon.

[48] Posted by Dilbertnomore on 09-25-2007 at 06:43 PM • top

“We call for increasing implementation of the listening process across the Communion and for a report on its progress to Lambeth 2008.”

Do the ECUSA bishops really want Lambeth I.10 brought up at Lambeth?  Do they REALLY want to go there?

[49] Posted by recusant on 09-25-2007 at 06:46 PM • top

There is a very serious passage of Scripture that speaks of a prayer that the Apostle Paul prayed to STOP sexual sin in the church:

1 Corinthians 5:1-13 (NKJV)
1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles—that a man has his father’s wife!
2 And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you.
3 For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed.
4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
5 deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

Some should start praying this prayer for the individuals whose actions have destroyed this church.  I write this with tears.

[50] Posted by Josip on 09-25-2007 at 06:47 PM • top

Out west, in Grizzly Bear country, they tell you if you are in a group of folks and see a grizzly, and the bear starts to approach, for the entire group to stand shoulder to shoulder, and face the bear, b/c the grizzly has poor eyesight, and he will think there is a creature out there bigger than he is. 
    This is the answer to the GLBT question.  I know plenty of G’s and some L’s, but not sure I know any B’s and fairly certain I know no T’s.  [And isn’t a practicing B simply a confession of promiscuity?]  Anyway, the G’s and the L’s added the B and the T so they would look bigger.

[51] Posted by Dick Mitchell on 09-25-2007 at 06:48 PM • top

This week was a complete waste of time and money for all involved.  The statement is a totally inadequate response to the Primates.  If they accept it, they lose their integrity and the trust of their churches.

[52] Posted by Katherine on 09-25-2007 at 06:48 PM • top

Intractible and incorrigble.
If you have a life boat station, now would be a good time to get in. If not, at least find a life preserver.

[53] Posted by soundbytes on 09-25-2007 at 06:50 PM • top

I see nothing different.  They don’t even have the honesty to say that they are allowing same sex blessings.

Why can’t they say yes or no?  Men and women of God.  Why can’t they be proactively honest?

[54] Posted by Paul B on 09-25-2007 at 06:51 PM • top

What kind of nuts would you like with this piece of fudge?  That’s my only question.  We should now all begin praying for the Common Cause Bishops as they are meeting this weeki.  These are Godly men and they need our prayers now more than ever as they stand for the Faith Once delivered to the saints.

[55] Posted by seminarian on 09-25-2007 at 06:52 PM • top

Perhaps this says it all…. From Integrity

House of Bishops Stands Firm

NEW ORLEANS—The members of Integrity have prayed unceasingly for their bishops as they met this week to consider a response to the primates’ communiqué. The bishops were pressured by the Archbishop of Canterbury and other international guests to comply with the primate’s demands. The bishops struggled mightily amongst themselves to achieve a clear consensus on how to respond. Integrity is gratified that the final response from the House of Bishop declined to succumb to the pressure to go backwards, but rather took some significant steps forward.

We are encouraged by their strong language against the incursions of uninvited bishops into this province, their commendation of the Anglican Listening Process, their unequivocal support that the Bishop of New Hampshire should receive an invitation to the Lambeth Conference, and their affirmation of safety and civil rights for LGBT persons.

Integrity President Susan Russell said, “In response to requests for ‘clarity’ the House of Bishops made it clear today that the Episcopal Church is moving forward in faith. I believe today’s response will be received as a sign of great hope that we are committed to working through the hard ground of our differences. I look forward to taking the support of the House of Bishops for the Listening Process with me when I and other Integrity representatives meet with Anglican colleagues in London next month to prepare for our witness at the Lambeth Conference.”

“Integrity is confident that The Episcopal Church will continue to move forward,” concluded Russell. “Integrity expects General Convention 2009 to be a tipping point for equality. We will be working hard in the months ahead to repeal B033 and to authorize development of a rite for blessing same-sex relationships as steps toward the goal of the full inclusion of all the baptized into the Body of Christ.”

[56] Posted by fh57 on 09-25-2007 at 06:54 PM • top

Africanised One:

My response to you was to your initial posting on this thread.  Were I to be responding to your 2nd posting at 2:38 PM (which my response followed by four postings), my first sentence would have been “You are correct”.  I don’t know if that clarification is needed, but I thought it might be helpful.


TJ McMahon:

I agree with you wholeheartedly: Without a Primatical Vicar structure the orthodox are being expected to continue to serve the same regime and the noose will only tighten.  I am confident that the Primates (as a whole) already see that very clearly.

[57] Posted by young joe from old oc on 09-25-2007 at 06:57 PM • top

Seminarian, in answer to your question, the Common Cause guys might have some.  It’ll be interesting to see.

[58] Posted by Africanised Anglican on 09-25-2007 at 06:58 PM • top

DOW,

You are completely correct about BOZO (B033). It was a last-minute, thrown-together, tossed-bone to keep the primates from spinning on their heels toward the door back in ‘06. It was poorly written then, and sounds worse now. The entire plan hinges on providing loopholes, back-door, and under the table deals for accomplishing SSB’s. There is not one bit of regret, much less an ounce of repentance expressed at the acts of elevating sin to the highest levels and calling it Holy. The goal from the beginning was to destroy the church and all that it stands for.
So far, it seems to be going unchecked.

Laytone

[59] Posted by Laytone on 09-25-2007 at 06:58 PM • top

786 online must be a record!

[60] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 09-25-2007 at 07:00 PM • top

Dilbertnomore remarks

And, of course, the litigation will continue until morale improves.

Of course.  That’s the main reason 815 was terrified of losing control of the resolution.  Once you understand that 815 is not fighting over theology, it is not fighting over ecclesiology, it is not even fighting for inclusion and social justice, it is fighting solely to retain its own power and money, you will better understand why it’s been acting the way it has. 

The problem that they currently have is that they must remain in communion with Canterbury or face an impossibly huge exodus of parishes and dioceses—impossibly huge because they could not possibly keep up their threats with half or more of the church departing at once.  They don’t care about Lambeth at all, let alone the rest of the Communion.  They don’t even care about VGR, except to the extent that his cause can keep the Useful Idiots in line to conveniently run GC and the Executive Council for them.

[61] Posted by Craig Goodrich on 09-25-2007 at 07:00 PM • top

Pageantmaster we were up to 1200 at one point this afternoon and over 1000 for about 2-3 hours

[62] Posted by The_Elves on 09-25-2007 at 07:02 PM • top

Pageantmaster, it was over a thousand during Matt+‘s live blog waiting for the text of the resolution.

[63] Posted by Craig Goodrich on 09-25-2007 at 07:02 PM • top

Thousand, schmousand.  It’s still a “tiny minority,” remember?

[64] Posted by VaAnglican on 09-25-2007 at 07:04 PM • top

(koff)
Khaff
(Snickergggh)(Khaff)(Khaff)
(Khaff) Honey, come here!  You gotta read this!!

Hahahaha
HahahahahahahahaHHHHHHHHHHHHahahaha (Gasp)
(Gasp)(Gasp)(Gasp)(Gasp)
HHHHHHHHHHHHaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaHHHHHHHHHHHhaaaaaaa
[uhnn]

Honeycomequick. Needhelp.
..call911

[65] Posted by J Eppinga on 09-25-2007 at 07:06 PM • top

Katherine,

How can you say this week was a waste of time and money?

We learned that:

- Bishop Bruno made even the New York Times concerned about the truth.
- Father Kennedy may know his way around the Bible, but can’t find his hotel in New Orleans.
- Racism is bad and should be opposed.
- There is a “Secret Church of Jesus Christ”
- Same sex blessings are not authorized but are not unauthorized to be done routinely as a matter of pastoral care on a regular unauthorized basis.
- Archbishop Mouneer is the bomb.

Sounds like money well spent to me.

[66] Posted by DietofWorms on 09-25-2007 at 07:09 PM • top

This is nothing new.

Summary: We are going to continue doing just as we have been doing. We are sorry you don’t like it, but that’s just too bad. You ought to try it yourselves. While we are talking about it, quit coming over here, messing up our playhouse, and stealing our toys.

What have they said that hasn’t already been said a thousand times before? The only concession, if it really exists among all the fudge and is actually observed, is holding off on more bishops a while. They won’t authorize public Rites of Blessing? They say that now, but that hasn’t prevented them being conducted all over the country. All this means is that they won’t put them in the prayer book-yet.

Surely they don’t think this is going to get them off the hook with the Global South? Then again, they are so arrogant, they just might.
Days of yammering at each other, producing nothing. No wonder the orthodox bishops left early. They knew this was going to be a waste of time and money. The outcome was pre-ordained by 815 before the meeting ever started.
cannyscot :<(

[67] Posted by cannyscot on 09-25-2007 at 07:11 PM • top

Elves, Craig
wow!

[68] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 09-25-2007 at 07:15 PM • top

Pathetic, they can’t even stand up for what they do believe in.

B033:
Nobody doubted it meant Active GLBT, the problem was the words “exercise restraint”. What was required was a promise NOT to do it, restraint isn’t enough.

SSB:
  No change, they will still be done “privately”, if you call announcing in the NYT private. Again I think the words NOT to and cease was what was asked for. Worse the request was till a consensus was reached in the Communion. The HOB promise is only good till the GC says so.

PV/PC:
  At least no fudge here. They didn’t use the words go to and hell but they got pretty close. Just a big pile of DEPO.

If ++RW puts a positive spin on this I think you can safely say the fat lady has sung.

What was all the time and secret sessions for anyway? This is virtually the same as the first draft.

[69] Posted by Rocks on 09-25-2007 at 07:21 PM • top

It should be clear from even the most basic legal and plain-language principles that lots of dioceses are authorizing SSBs. If one of your agents (ie. a priest in your diocese) says that he will perform a same sex blessing rite in his church and you as bishop do not tell him not to do so (or tell him that is permitted), you have given him authority to do the rite. It is in the priest’s official capacity, so it is plainly “official.”

In a court of law, if a corporate officer tells the
CEO that he will take xyz illegal action on the job, and the CEO does not tell him not to, that act is undeniably going to be held as having been authorized by the corporation at its highest level, and the corporation will be held responsible. This is not a controversial point.

The priest has authority to develop a rite. The rite is therefore official, whether it was designed in the diocesan office or not. It could not be more clear.

[70] Posted by Reason and Revelation on 09-25-2007 at 07:33 PM • top

What I find so amazing about this statement is that so-called Windsor bishops apparently supported this.  This, frankly, makes it very hard for any of them, or their dioceses, to be viewed as safely within the Anglican Communion.  Which must mean that these bishops were also convinced that there would be no discipline for the American church—or else why not keep ensure your membership in the Communion by opposing this?  Certainly the honorable thing for bishops like John Howe to do now (assuming he was an ‘aye’ vote) is to resign—not just from the Network, as one commenter suggested, but also from the the episcopate.  That’s because a shepherd’s job to to protect his flock—and supporting this outcome is the opposite of doing that.  What makes the WINO (Windsor In Name Only) bishops’ stance all the more surprising is that built into this resolution is its expiration—by the next General Convention, if it isn’t well and truly dead well before then by the disingenuous behavior of many of the bishops who voted for it.  Howe, Stanton, and others are simply going to face an Episcopal Church in 2009 where SSBs are authorized, and B033 has been repealed; where the Prayer Book (to the extent it is that) will begin having all orthodox bits stripped from it; where orthodox parishes are sued with abandon; and where membership continues to hemorrage as the Cultural Revolution purges accelerate.  What will they do then?  Parishes that can see clearer than their bishops now must leave, before the pogrom intensifies.

[71] Posted by VaAnglican on 09-25-2007 at 07:38 PM • top

“Archbishop Mouneer is the bomb.”  [the greatest]

DOW, just in case Archbishop Mouneer Anis reads this thread, let’s put this in very clear terms: ++ANIS IS ONE OF GOD’S SERVANTS AND HEROES.  THANK GOD FOR HIM.  WE APPRECIATE YOUR CLEAR MESSAGE, ++MOUNEER!  KEEP US IN YOUR PRAYERS.

And what would you think of a Communion centered in Jerusalem or Alexandria?

[72] Posted by Paula on 09-25-2007 at 07:42 PM • top

“...it only pledges to stop authorizing “Rites of SSB’s” as official liturgies”.

That’s fudge that has baked before, especially in places like DioMass, where Shaw tells the primates that they have no liturgies for SSB’s, and SSB’s are not authorized in his diocese, but at the deanery meetings they pass around the service developed in New Westminster and say, “use this”. 

“...And isn’t a practicing B simply a confession of promiscuity?”

I’ve heard it said by revisionists before that “B” is just fine when defined as a sort of “serial monogamy” thing.  Got me by the sneakers…Hetero, homo, bi or whatever, sex outside of committed, heterosexual, monogamous marriage is still fornication in the eyes of Scripture, like it or not. 

Is anybody here surprised by nuts and fudge?  Not me, and my prayer is that there will be a minority report. 

I hope the AB of C and the primates get cracking…they’ve got their response, complete with Bruno lying through his teeth to the New York Times and others.  It goes without saying, too, that birds of a feather flock together—I haven’t yet heard or seen his colleagues denouncing or retracting what he said. 

Lucifer’s parliament of whores…revolting…

God help and save us all…

TS

[73] Posted by Passing By on 09-25-2007 at 07:43 PM • top

- We promise to withhold permission for the development of SSU litergies. 

- We promise to withhold permission for the ordination of non-celibate homosexuals until such time that a consensus is reached in TEC

- We graciously consent to reward requests of APO with DEPO (You’re welcome). 

- We unequivocally repudiate border crossings, and call for the immediate reblending of departed congregations.  It matters not that these guys are worshipping in YMCA gymnasiums and storefronts.  It also matters not that they have attracted Reformed and charismatic types to their mix.  What’s their’s is OURS.  So you tell them ++Rowan - tell them to bring their paltry bank accounts and shoeboxes full of receipts and lay them at our feet. 
And then let them go away again.  Pesky right-wingers. 

- Regarding the DES pastoral scheme… No, but thanks for asking. 

- Listening process:  You know the drill.  What?  You want us to write it down again for you?  Okay, we’ll type slower this time, so you can understand it. 

- Lambeth:  We got our ice cream, and you got no-thin’ !! 
Oh yeah, and Gene’s invite may have got lost in the mail.  At any rate, he’s still going, to Lambeth, too.  So nyyyyyyyyaaaaah!

- On lesbians and gays (Our current mascots):  While we’re waiting for consensus to develop, we will also enforce it.

[74] Posted by J Eppinga on 09-25-2007 at 07:47 PM • top

This is at best a 40 out of 100, with respect to the Primates’ questions.  The issue of election and consecration of bishops was clarified as the Primates requested and in the direction they wanted.  The issue of same-sex blessings was, as many have quickly pointed out, dodged in a long-familiar way, but in a way that actually avoided contfonting the Primates explicit question of “permission” of, and not simply authorizing public rites.  A relatively clear “no” to the Primates.  The issue of pastoral oversight was left muddy, but with a reiteration of the earlier clear “no” to the actual suggestion of the Primates.  For lack of any other proposal offered by the American bishops, this can only be seen as an attempt to obfuscate and buy time, without any cost. The other statements are boilerplate.  In the end, the response must be construed as a failure to meet the Primates’ requests, although one made with some very small gestures in their direction. and others made to emphasize their disagreement with the Primates. 

It is not surprising that this kind of statement would come out of the diverse and unevenly divided House, faced with the various pressures it has been feeling.  The House of Bishops is not capable of acting as a body.  This is a part of the judgment it carries.  For that matter, it reflects what may be becoming clear on a larger stage:  the Anglican Communion itself is not capable of acting as a body.  What then?  The analogy with a human body could go in a number of directions:  paralysis, coma, seizures, spasticity, death.  Who knows?  Maybe even eventual healing.  The claim to “health through amputation” (made by some in this case), however, strikes me as a naive hope that will resemble in the end the knight in Monty Python’s Holy Grail movie, only here the victim of his own weapon and no another’s.  All the more liable.

Is there a minority report?  I hear no mention of one.  It doesn’t matter if the task of the HoB was impossible.  Inevitable failures are still useless, and still to be rejected, despite their unavoidable nature.  Those bishops who understand this should at least say so, and not only in lonely whispers.

[75] Posted by Ephraim Radner on 09-25-2007 at 07:47 PM • top

I’m not sure that the lesbian will get thrown under the bus.  From what I understand about Chicago, they may well call the national church’s bluff.  What could TEC do about it?  If they accept her, they cut their own throats but if they turn her down, they outrage every leftist Episcopalian in the country. 

Besides, they can always fall back on their same-sex marriage rationale.  Tracey Lind gets elected and the consent form reads something to the effect that while the Episcopal Church doesn’t approve of the election of an openly-homosexual bishop. it recognizes that the Diocese of Chicago is operating within the bounds of our common life by electing Tracey Lind.  Then TEC goes ahead, consecrates her and tells the rest of the Communion that it hasn’t elected an openly homosexual bishop at all. wink

[76] Posted by Christopher Johnson on 09-25-2007 at 07:48 PM • top

We’ve all been waiting, holding our breath, and we’re worn out. Now, let’s wait for sharper minds and softer tongues. Analyze, then discuss,
then tell them where to go.
My sainted grandmother always told me, if you’re mad, count to ten before speaking. I’m counting in hours.
Lord, have mercy.

[77] Posted by john1 on 09-25-2007 at 07:49 PM • top

Just wait another year until the next “decisive, be-all and end-all meeting.” The can has been kicked further down the road. Peter Toon said it best:

“So we expect no more than several departures of bishops and/or parts of dioceses in the next months, and the likelihood of the formation of a new province in the next year is not high.”

[78] Posted by Joel on 09-25-2007 at 07:56 PM • top

Dr. Radner,
  No disrespect intended but frankly I think you are being too generous here, especially with regard to B033.  Was the issue whether or not it included GLBT or whether restraint was strong enough a word?
Weren’t the Primates looking for language along the lines of “cease” and ‘will not” for B033 and ALL SSBs?

[79] Posted by Rocks on 09-25-2007 at 07:58 PM • top

Yes Paula!

When I said “Archbishop Mouneer was the bomb” it was an Americanism for “Archbishop Mouneer is my hero, a true servant of the Lord”.

The Bishops obviously did not listen to him.

[80] Posted by DietofWorms on 09-25-2007 at 08:00 PM • top

Why is there no minority report? What happened to the Windsor bishops? Were they stifled? Or didn’t they care?

[81] Posted by oscewicee on 09-25-2007 at 08:03 PM • top

It’s somewhat of a mystery why TEC is even bothering to go through this charade in New Orleans.  They have always stated they can do anything they want and don’t need the Anglican Communion’s permission.  On second thought, some reasons they are doing this:
6.  They are not Christians, they are Universalists.
5.  They perceive they have more authority than the Bible.
4.  They reject and will crush anyone who disagrees with them.
3.  They want to form a worldwide Liberal Communion run by TEC with Canterbury as its puppet mouthpiece.
2.  They want to protect their legal stance in lawsuits brought by Uber-Chancellor David Booth Beers and PB Schori.
1.  They are firmly and blindly in the grip of the Enemy.

This is all very sad.  It is tragic but not unusual.  Many churches throughout history have been destroyed by Satan.  TEC is just the latest.

[82] Posted by PapaJ on 09-25-2007 at 08:07 PM • top

So sad - that the HoB can be so blind to the simple truth of what they were asked to do. In neglecting their responsibilities as a body, they have destroyed this denomination and possibly the Anglican Communion.

I agree with the comments above - this document does not so much contain loopholes, but is actually a giant loophole that is loosely configured as text. I am not an attorney, nor do I play one on the tele, but even my eight year-old daughter could find plenty of ways to essentially state that while this is the statement I agreed to, it doesn’t mean that I am actually bound by it. Moreover, what it really says (to those in the “secret church”) is that what I am already doing is right and blessed in the sight of the Lord - why then should I stop?

I certainly hope that ++Rowan will do something - ANYthing - but have given up hope that he will respond. Our best hope is the primates, and surely they see through this as easily as we all do. Let your “yes” be yes, and your “no” be no - something all of the purple shirts seemed to have missed here.

[83] Posted by Tom S. on 09-25-2007 at 08:09 PM • top

For the record, please note the utter absence of reference to Lambeth Resolution 1.10, which the ABC has repeatedly stated to be the offiical teaching of the Anglican Communion. See my commnents on <a >Return to Lambeth 1.10: An Up-or-Down Choice for the Episcopal Church</a>. Clearly the TEC is neither repenting nor rethinking nor returning to the teaching of Scripture as expressed by the Lambeth Conference.

[84] Posted by Stephen Noll on 09-25-2007 at 08:16 PM • top

My primary reaction to the HOB document is that the majority of the bishops do not understand the gravity of the situation in the communion and the fragility of the communion at this moment. The premise of this document is that a promise not to give consent for another bishop in a same-sex relationship before the next Lambeth and a promise not to change the formularies and authorize “public rites” for same sex blessings will buy a place at the Anglican table and enable the American church to participate in communion synods as advocate for the gay agenda by pushing the listening process. The fundamental dishonesty of the situation with regard to same sex blessings where the permission is given not to ask for permission has not been lost on the press. It is hard to understand why the HOB thinks the rest of the communion should not feel that this is simple insincerity. The provision of a separate paragraph for pushing to have Gene Robinson included in the Lambeth meeting is a stunning bit of denial. Clearly if Gene Robinson is present at Lambeth in any kind of official capacity the attendance of Global South bishops will be dramatically reduced. If Rowan Williams allows his name to be invoked with impunity as the sponsor of that effort it will be another and perhaps final blow to his credibility.

Especially disappointing is the refusal to consult with the dissenting bishops to arrive at a scheme for alternative oversight that would be acceptable to them. Rather than offering another take or leave it plan an invitation to the dissenting dioceses to put forward a plan of their own would have communicated some Christian charity. The majority in the HOB seems to perfect the art of being poor winners.

The resolution does empower the presiding bishop to consult with the primates on a plan but there is no good faith gesture in the report that gives ground for hope of a real negotiation. I am very sorry that Bishop Howe’s plan was not given greater consideration.

The HOB has clarified that it commits itself not to give consents to another election like Gene Robinson. It continues to claim that encouraging local option for same sex blessings shouldn’t be communion breaking as long as “public rites” are not authorized. This seems to me to be a claim that we should be able to violate our own rules as long as we do it quietly. I can’t imagine the primates buying it.

In sum the document brings the communion closer to schism. If Rowan Williams does not now disassociate himself from the American church leadership and its intransigence he will become irrelevant as a force for keeping the communion together and the break between the Global South and the rest of the communion will be accelerated.

[85] Posted by Leander Harding on 09-25-2007 at 08:17 PM • top

Thank you Seminarian for reminding us that: “We should now all begin praying for the Common Cause Bishops as they are meeting this week.  These are Godly men and they need our prayers now more than ever as they stand for the Faith Once delivered to the saints.”

[86] Posted by Betty See on 09-25-2007 at 08:19 PM • top

Yesterday’s draft, which was not good, was much better than this. At least yesterday’s draft was honest. For example, it said this, which basically admitted that different bishops in TEC were interpreting B033 differently:

We have attempted to respond to the Primates questions regarding Resolution B033. in honesty we must report that within the HOB there is disagreement as to how this resolution is to be interpreted and applied. As we live with this painful reality, conversation study and prayer will continue. We recognize the challenge our disagreement presents for some in the Communion

And, although the draft didn’t respond to the concerns of the wider communion, the draft clearly articulated what these concerns were:

We heard that actions taken by the 2003 General Convention have caused great difficulty for some in continuing effective mission and ministry in their own cultural contexts. We heard that we as bishops have sometimes failed to communicate in ways that are sufficiently clear and unambiguous. We heard an expression of concern that we have blurred the distinction between the canonical authorization of public rites of same sex blessing and the allowing of services of blessing for pastoral reasons. We heard from our guests that there is a growing understanding on the part of others in the Anglican Communion that our polity places limitations on our ability as bishops to act independently on some issues. We also heard that many remain frustrated by their view that we as bishops have not always found ways to provide clear and definitive leadership.

Take those paragraphs out, and there is nothing left.

Sad.

[87] Posted by selah on 09-25-2007 at 08:20 PM • top

I certainly hope that ++Rowan will do something - ANYthing - but have given up hope that he will respond. Our best hope is the primates, and surely they see through this as easily as we all do. Let your “yes” be yes, and your “no” be no - something all of the purple shirts seemed to have missed here.

Yes, I wonder if ++Rowan will continue to embrace a deontological reading of his catholic principle of ‘keeping everyone at the table.’  If the table is perpetually being overturned by one (or more) party, is it even a gathering space?  Or if the words spoken at table are prevaricating, dissimulating words, is it really a conversation?  Right now, we know that the leadership of TEC is not going to practice anything like mutual submission in love—so why must we who will submit, gladly and wholeheartedly, continually submit to their unloving, abusive wills?

I have said it a million times and I say it again: ++Rowan can withdraw invitations to Lambeth, ++Rowan can refuse ++KJS a seat at the table with other primates—if he wills it.  Those are his prerogatives as ABC.  His is a power to invite, to call the meeting.  And he can make those choices on behalf of catholic order within the Communion—if he wills it.  So if he values catholicity so much, then please, Your Grace, make the only catholic choice available: refuse the abusers the right to abuse anymore.

[88] Posted by Steve Lake+ on 09-25-2007 at 08:21 PM • top

Great post, Dr. Harding.  I agree wholeheartedly. 

“It is hard to understand why the HOB thinks the rest of the communion should not feel that this is simple insincerity”.

One of the most glaring hallmarks of unadulterated arrogance, I’d say, not to mention largely considering all others in the picture to be woefully stupid; another huge mistake…

God bless—

TS

[89] Posted by Passing By on 09-25-2007 at 08:24 PM • top

Ephraim, please explain further this comment:

It is not surprising that this kind of statement would come out of the diverse and unevenly divided House, faced with the various pressures it has been feeling.  The House of Bishops is not capable of acting as a body.  This is a part of the judgment it carries.  For that matter, it reflects what may be becoming clear on a larger stage:  the Anglican Communion itself is not capable of acting as a body.

We all knew lightyears in advance that the HOB would get a failing mark on its response to the DES Communique. Why does this decision not set the stage for definitive action by the Instruments to state that TEC has decided to walk apart? I thought that was the whole burden of the ACI’s case.

[90] Posted by Stephen Noll on 09-25-2007 at 08:25 PM • top

I’m just wondering if the Bishops really read the statements they publish.  Do they realize how stupid they sound?  I am stunned by their ignorance and cowardice.  I think they will be just as stunned when the Communion is gone due to their inability to see right and wrong when it comes to sex.  Sex of all things.  I am shaking my head.  Break up the 3rd largest “Religion” over sex?  It just doesn’t make any sense at all and it is just too bad. 

Trust and obey…

[91] Posted by JohntheBaptist on 09-25-2007 at 08:26 PM • top

As a non-Anglican, my heart hurts for you and you are all in my prayers.  This stone bridge appears lost, but I thank God for your faithful defense and mourn for the casualties and losses. 

Having hoped for another outcome is never a thing to be ashamed of and is never a waste of time.  Your light shining has been a blessing and encouragement to many others fighting in other denominations and situations, many who thought they were alone in the fight.  I thank God He has given some of you the gift of battle and the weapons of your warfare. 

May God bless you and comfort you that all your efforts were given toward His glory and seen by His eyes, that you were obedient and gave your best effort, despite what looks to our human eyes like a grim outlook. 

This scripture has come to mind today: 
“Some trust in horses,” (bishops?) “and some trust in chariots, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”  (Psalm 20:7)

Also the reminder that Jesus will build HIS church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.

The Lord is your shepherd and may he restore your souls today.

[92] Posted by Cathy_Lou on 09-25-2007 at 08:28 PM • top

Dr Noll wrote:

Why does this decision not set the stage for definitive action by the Instruments to state that TEC has decided to walk apart?

Was not ‘unequivocal’ part of the assignment?

[93] Posted by Africanised Anglican on 09-25-2007 at 08:31 PM • top

Choose this day whom you will serve.  As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.

R+

[94] Posted by deanreed on 09-25-2007 at 08:37 PM • top

Some thoughts on the statement:<OL>
<LI>The “incursions” they deplore won’t end - it’s only a boundary crossing when there is a church on the other side of the boundary. Given the innovations that are confirmed herein we can safely say that it’s not a Church. They’re not boundary crossing - they’re evangelism and building up the Body.
<LI>They can’t forthrightly own up to this “new thing of the Spirit” because it is in fact an <U>old</U> thing - the worship of Moloch, Ba’al, and Ashteroth. The homosexualists are submitted to the will of demons. That’s why it is loving and NOT hateful to call them to repentence - and life - and freedom.
<LI>The Global South knows full well that the purpose of the “listening process” is to “create a space” where the gangrene can spread. This will not happen. The only question is whether the amputation happens below or above the knee (that is, will the CoE be cut off as well).
<LI>Remember that the Church has not failed - it’s merely that a limb has stopped bearing fruit, has been given a season of patience. That time is ending and the chainsaws are revving up to cut up the dead wood for the fire.
<LI>Don’t worry about the buildings, either. The money tied up in the typical TEC parish is quite small compared to the “capacity” of a vibrant Christian community. You can start over. Build up the Church with believers and the bricks will follow.
<LI>The Apostolic Succession matters in its faithful transmission of the faith as received. The “hierarchy” is merely a visible sign of this transmission of Faith and submission to God. Remember, however, that there are other models that emphasize mutual submission - a form of “peer review” that is more common in the evangelical churches. The connection over space (rector -> bishop -> primate -> AOC) is far less important than the connection over time (present day believers -> “doctors” of the Faith -> Apostles -> Jesus).
<LI>Finally, a lesson to be learned here is that the mainstream churches show the instability of having “single points of failure” in the system. It’s clear that the seminaries and commissions on ministry are such points of failure. Make sure that any revitalized Anglicanism makes full use of network effects so that heresy can’t find a foothold among a small number of folks with disproportionate influence.
</OL>
Remember the promise in <a >Isaiah 50:10</a> that:

Who among you fears the LORD
    and obeys the word of his servant?
    Let him who walks in the dark,
    who has no light,
    trust in the name of the LORD
    and rely on his God.

Peace be to all of you, brothers and sisters in the Lord!

[95] Posted by Doug Stein on 09-25-2007 at 08:46 PM • top

Amen, DeanReed. And may God bless the members of the Standing Committee of Fort Worth for its courageous statement today. We will move forward with realignment in reliance on God’s grace.

[96] Posted by texanglican on 09-25-2007 at 08:50 PM • top

I don’t want to break any elven rules by anything that could be perceived as mocking our worthy opponents…but this is the money quote “We, the members of the House of Bishops, pledge not to authorize for use in our dioceses any public rites of blessing of same-sex unions until a broader consensus emerges in the Communion, or until General Convention takes further action.”

Allow me to translate…“Well, we can’t do it now anyway because we don’t have permission from the General Convention, so we might as well make you all feel like you won by giving up something we don’t have. That is, until we get it….well, then all bets are off.”

Here folks you see the difference between CONSUMERS of religion and PARTICIPANTS in religion…

[97] Posted by Conoscenzo on 09-25-2007 at 08:50 PM • top

I agree with Dr. Noll when he says:

Why does this decision not set the stage for definitive action by the Instruments to state that TEC has decided to walk apart? I thought that was the whole burden of the ACI’s case.

While I disagreed with those who believed that Rowan Williams should have read the riot act to the HoB, and agreed that the Communique could not fairly be described as an “ultmatum”, I do believe that this response by the HoB is so far from the mark that it constitutes an open, blatant rejection of the Communique, the primates, and even Rowan Williams himself.

The consistent line coming from Rowan Williams himself and from the primates is that TEC has been moving towards disengaging itself from the Communion.  The primates’ sub-committee released the now infamous report that essentially said “we think TEC may have decided to re-engage with the Communion but we aren’t really certain of that.”  So the primates then told TEC “if you want to re-engage, here is what you need to do to convince us.”

TEC has now declared its intention to continue the disengagement.  This means that either the ABC and the primates respond to this disengagement with discipline, or they are shown up for cowardly loudmouths.

[98] Posted by jamesw on 09-25-2007 at 08:53 PM • top

They’re full of <s>#$%?&^*@&</s> shaving cream.
Shave every day and you’ll always be clean!

[99] Posted by Piedmont on 09-25-2007 at 09:01 PM • top

Sorry to keep thumping for Lambeth 1.10, but this has been the whole point since 1998: that the Communion holds a “standard of teaching” based on Scripture, which simply cannot be controverted in word or deed without constituting a fundamental break of doctrine and discipline.

Let me quote from the Dar Communique:

11. What has been quite clear throughout this period is that the 1998 Lambeth Resolution 1.10 is the standard of teaching which is presupposed in the Windsor Report and from which the primates have worked. This restates the traditional teaching of the Christian Church that “in view of the teaching of Scripture, [the Conference] upholds faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman in lifelong union, and believes that abstinence is right for those who are not called to marriage”, and applies this to several areas which are discussed further below. The Primates have reaffirmed this teaching in all their recent meetings, and indicated how a change in the formal teaching of any one Province would indicate a departure from the standard upheld by the Communion as a whole.

[100] Posted by Stephen Noll on 09-25-2007 at 09:04 PM • top

FWIW, I’ve got more comment here.

[101] Posted by Steve Lake+ on 09-25-2007 at 09:11 PM • top

This resolution, as pathetic as it is, is not the biggest story.  Most significant is the total capitulation of the so-called Windsor bishops.  Anyone who voted for the “full participation” of Gene Robinson at Lambeth has chosen sides and we should now acknowledge that fact.

[102] Posted by wildfire on 09-25-2007 at 09:16 PM • top

Did Ephraim really reference Monty Python???

The question of minority report is a strange one. I have never heard a “minority report” coming out a bishops’ meeting. Does anyone know of historical precedence? Of what value would it be?

[103] Posted by robroy on 09-25-2007 at 09:18 PM • top
[104] Posted by James Manley on 09-25-2007 at 09:19 PM • top

Don Armstrong:  You deserve a lot of respect for your many years of work, but your postings over the last few months have become more and more unstable—more and more like “coming in on a wing and a prayer.”  Sorry to note that today’s looks like you are winged out, so we’ll say a prayer for you.  Hope things get better for you!

[105] Posted by Wolfstan on 09-25-2007 at 09:36 PM • top

Who cares about a “minority report?” What meaning would it have?  Would it counsel patience, and continuing working through channels, hoping for a decisive event in the future. It reminds me of the old story about a conservative Anglican in the National Cathedral, observing a butch lesbian in drag prancing around the altar, swinging a thurible to the tune of Marilyn Manson, saying to his colleague: “OK…that’s it….just ONE MORE THING, and I’m out of here!!!”

[106] Posted by frwalkeratsaintalbans on 09-25-2007 at 09:38 PM • top

To Dr. Noll’s question (and with a nod to Mark McCall above):

The HoB response appears—not surprisingly at all—equivocating, although just in this respect, a clear rejection of the spirit and letter of the Primates’ desires.  But the equivocation is probably not just the result of strategic planning, a desire to be clever in verbally defanging the Primates’ wishes; but it perhaps actually reflects the inability of the bishops themselves to work clearly, and agree to work clearly, to articulate the actual commitments of its members.  For reasons I cannot explain any better than others, the Camp Allen bishops (whose earlier agreed-upon commitments, very straightforward it seemed, were leaked a couple of days ago) appear to have been a part of this dynamic in the end.  And the dynamic itself is consistent with what we have seen at General Convention—an incredible indiscipline before the task presented to it by the larger church (leaving aside any question of coming up with the “right” answer!). 

Dr. Noll’s question is whether this equivocating response—in itself a rejection of the clarity requested by the Primates—will not prove sufficient to clarify TEC’s decision to “walk apart”.  But, alas, with so many signing on to this, it is not at all clear that the document in itself signals a “decision to walk apart” by the Episcopal Church as a whole —there are presumably signers to this statement that have no desire to walk apart, and have done little to indicate that they do.  The statement IS itself a kind of walking apart—I agree—but it will, I fear, only confuse some others in the Communion, and in doing so encourage the kind of disorganized thinking and action that have now become so predictable in our Communion as a whole. 

We shall see if Abp. Williams calls the Primates together.  He should and he must.  He has promised to “consult them”, but I am not sure how he can do this quickly and fairly without a face-to-face meeting that takes the time to try to understand, through God’s mercy and the Spirit’s aid, what is going on and how to respond.  My worry, however, is that we shall have an equivocal “consultation”, the result of which, on a communion level, is not so much further equivocation as simple chaos.  Forgive me if I still consider St. Paul’s statement true that “God is not a God of confusion but of peace” (1 Cor. 14:33).  In which case, the walking apart will be an action pursued by more than the floundering Americans.

[107] Posted by Ephraim Radner on 09-25-2007 at 09:39 PM • top

I have been away most of the day. What does this from Petre mean:

The American bishops were also asked to agree to provide an enclave for American conservatives who reject the authority of their liberal bishops, overseen by an independent council whose chair would be appointed by Dr Williams.

[108] Posted by zebra on 09-25-2007 at 09:39 PM • top

I agree with Ephraim Radner when he says:

We shall see if Abp. Williams calls the Primates together.  He should and he must.


I would be a lot more sanguine about this happening if RW had given the speech of Abp. Mouneer. Perhaps Abp. Mouneer will be the one to insist that the Primates meet.

[109] Posted by Stephen Noll on 09-25-2007 at 09:46 PM • top

“If Rowan Williams does not now disassociate himself from the American church leadership and its intransigence…”

Perhaps you missed the comments of his spokesman remaining in New Orleans who indicated that the draft proposal would surely be “widely accepted.”  It was never in the cards for Rowan to reject TEC’s response.  Look for the words “hopeful” and “constructive”.  Look for 3 of the 5 members of the Standing Committee to endorse it.

From a human standpoint, I am sympathetic to the Windsor Bishops, although I strongly believe that they have failed in a very important test. Once you have made a decision, like Howe, that you must stay in TEC come Hell or High Water (or until retirement, whichever comes first) you are inevitably led to a series of accommodations to achieve that priority. One accommodation is to toe the line, as Howe has, on property disputes with departing parishes; another is to accept (or at least not reject) appointments on the PB list of “visiting” Bishops (Howe, Stanton, etc.).

Having been named to the list of visiting Bishops under the PB’s plan, you can hardly expect them to them to have voted against it.  Camp Allen produced nothing but an identified group that ended up giving their tactic endorsement to a resolution that got TEC off the hook.

[110] Posted by Going Home on 09-25-2007 at 09:47 PM • top

“The provision of a separate paragraph for pushing to have Gene Robinson included in the Lambeth meeting”
Just some random thoughts at the end of a very long day:
1.  never thought I’d even come close to saying anything that would approximate a plus for VGR, however, at least he has had the integrity to be HONEST about what he ‘s up to - I am, of course, assuming that ++Shaw of Massachusetts got his Lambeth invite - the fact that he showed up at the last Gencon with his lover is one of the worst kept secrets in TEC
2. Cathy_Lou - thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful remarks.  You prompted me to ask:  what is the positive in this mess?  Well, you know what folks - this whole thing has given God the opportunity to raise up Anglican men and women of courage and conviction to speak and write and stand up for and suffer for Christ in a way many of us have probably never done before.  No matter what the final outcome - the bell can’t be unrung.  People like Matt Kennedy, Greg G., ++Minns, Sarah Hey and many more wonderful saints will continue to forge the way for the reconfigured communion - whatever form it takes. 
3.  DOW - I totally agree - ++Mouneer is DA BOMB!!!!

[111] Posted by no longer NH Episcopalian on 09-25-2007 at 09:56 PM • top

Just a bunch of sour grapes, poor you! S. Blackmun

[112] Posted by sblackmun on 09-25-2007 at 09:58 PM • top

This rot was passed by acclamation.  Can we find out who was still there to acclaim it, and who had left to find somewhere else to stand?

[113] Posted by murbles on 09-25-2007 at 10:00 PM • top

can someone explain j petre’s remark in the DT?

[114] Posted by zebra on 09-25-2007 at 10:00 PM • top

I don’t want to be in an “enclave” thank you.  I want my real church back.  Or a new one.

[115] Posted by Miss Sippi on 09-25-2007 at 10:03 PM • top

You know I am seeing the word “moratorium” all over in articles and even some bloggers stating how this document clarifies TEC’s position on B033. I’m sorry I just don’t see this. Exercise restraint does not mean the same thing as absolutely will not. This position is essentially what the Sub group report said about B033 an nobody bought it.
How does admitting this includes LBGT make it clearer. Everyone thought B033 included LBGT’s already. The problem was that B033 did not guarantee a stoppage. Neither does this text. Bishops could easily give consent and say they exercised restraint by being absolutely sure the LBGT candidate was right but they were compelled by the obvious worthiness of the candidate.

There is no real change to TEC’s position regarding B033.

[116] Posted by Rocks on 09-25-2007 at 10:04 PM • top

The American bishops were also asked to agree to provide an enclave for American conservatives who reject the authority of their liberal bishops, overseen by an independent council whose chair would be appointed by Dr Williams.

That’s his, very poor, description of the PV/PC plan.

[117] Posted by Rocks on 09-25-2007 at 10:06 PM • top

Fine Miss. My question is to do with CONTENT. What does Jonathan Petre mean/refer to? We have seen nothing of this in public print. Is it, e.g., closer to DES than the original Schori proposal? On a day of bad news, it might be good to have all the hard facts…

[118] Posted by zebra on 09-25-2007 at 10:07 PM • top

Dr. Seitz, you asked what Petre meant by

The American bishops were also asked to agree to provide an enclave for American conservatives who reject the authority of their liberal bishops, overseen by an independent council whose chair would be appointed by Dr Williams.

I take it that is his gloss on the primatial vicar/pastoral council provision of the DeS communiqué.  “Enclave” is a bit, uh, tribal, but unless I’m missing something, I think that was Petre’s point.  Does that answer your question?

[119] Posted by Steve Lake+ on 09-25-2007 at 10:07 PM • top

Is it, e.g., closer to DES than the original Schori proposal?

What the bishops actually endorsed was a version of +KJS’s plan (DEPO), if I am not mistaken, and did not accept the more robust vision of DeS.  Perhaps Matt+ can sound off here.

[120] Posted by Steve Lake+ on 09-25-2007 at 10:09 PM • top

I probably misunderstood. I thought the DT was referring to something the TEC HOB agreed to when the report mentions episcopal visitors. Long day here…

[121] Posted by zebra on 09-25-2007 at 10:10 PM • top

Assuming the Camp Allen bishops all signed onto this, then I assume also that there will be no minority report, which means that there is no option left but the Network…I thought the ACI expected more…am I wrong Dr. Selz?

[122] Posted by johnp on 09-25-2007 at 10:14 PM • top

I really appreciate Fr. Radner’s candor about the CA coalition’s inaction because it is, perhaps, the greatest sorrow of today’s events.  I can understand if they sign off of the statement out of a certain desire to speak as one house if they agree on most all points, but then they must issue some dissenting opinion from at least the provisions they cannot accept—and for starters, the appeal to seat +VGR at Lambeth.  But why the silence?  It is deafening.  In the days to come, I hope we hear from them, or from those who know them well (Brad Drell?) because it seems incomprehensible to me that they were (apparently) so ready to stand up and be counted. . .only to blink.

[123] Posted by Steve Lake+ on 09-25-2007 at 10:14 PM • top

Seitz, It appears the “Windsor Bishops” caved.  There was no dissent at the final vote (with the notable exception of RI), and no minority report.  Any chance you can get on the horn and find out what the heck happened? 

The statement from the HOB we expected.  The silence from the Windsor group is what is stunning.

[124] Posted by Nyssa on 09-25-2007 at 10:15 PM • top

The bishops could have dropped their lawsuits as requested by the primates.  It would have been seen as a sign of good faith.  As it is, their response is sophistry and should be dismissed as such.  If the ABC accepts it, he will have lost what little credibility he has left.

[125] Posted by JamesR on 09-25-2007 at 10:18 PM • top

Perhaps, the first and last time that I disagree with Dr. Noll. Dr. Noll states:

I agree with Ephraim Radner when he says: 
<blockquote>We shall see if Abp. Williams calls the Primates together.  He should and he must.

</blockquote>
Ephraim wrote in reference to Rowan Williams, that we need to be willing to move on with what God has given us in one another within this difficult situation. The good Lord gave us the ABC and his “leadership” style at this time. His actions, especially if does not heed the call to discipline, i.e., rescind invitations, will effectively close the door on the Anglican Church as it once was. It is said that the good Lord opens a window if he closes a door. And where is that window of hope, that window of opportunity, that window of hope? To me, it is so obvious that this is a God thing, a chance for rebirth, renewal, and re-reformation. (Answer for the clueless: Pittsburgh)

Ephraim has lectured on how Christianity has moved from the middle East to Rome to northern Europe to America and now is moving to the Global South. What the Lord is providing is a mechanism to “ease” that movement. What was the alternative? The church is dying in the north. It would selfishly cling on to the torch as it sinks into the depths. But the message and light cannot die with the north, and the torch must be transferred. This current upheaval is merely the mechanism to transfer that message and light.

In fact, I cannot think of how else it could have been done. The Lord knows what he is doing!

[126] Posted by robroy on 09-25-2007 at 10:21 PM • top

Dr. Noll’s question is whether this equivocating response—in itself a rejection of the clarity requested by the Primates—will not prove sufficient to clarify TEC’s decision to “walk apart”.  But, alas, with so many signing on to this, it is not at all clear that the document in itself signals a “decision to walk apart” by the Episcopal Church as a whole —there are presumably signers to this statement that have no desire to walk apart, and have done little to indicate that they do.  The statement IS itself a kind of walking apart—I agree—but it will, I fear, only confuse some others in the Communion, and in doing so encourage the kind of disorganized thinking and action that have now become so predictable in our Communion as a whole.

I suppose I understand Dr. Radner’s “alas” at a purely political level, that is, that even those who disagree with the gay agenda have signed on and hence TEC may appear to those outside a babble of opinions. But at a biblical and spiritual level, it seems to me the “Camp Allen conservatives,” if they do not put out a minority report, are declaring themselves fellow-travellers with the clear majority and hence “Windsor-uncompliant,” to use the official term. Or “lukewarm” to use a biblical term.

[127] Posted by Stephen Noll on 09-25-2007 at 10:21 PM • top

It is late and I have been working all day. I see Salmon on one site saying it is not what the Primates wanted but it is OK. I am just curious if Petre is referring to the details of PV/PC plan that has not been explained yet.

I have spoken with only one CA bishop and so only know what you know. Like a lot of things, we must wait for further information and in clearer form. I have written a private response which I will not share until I have better information than I do now. Nothing I read will keep the Communion from unraveling, even as it may make some people believe a peace was won locally. But the episcopal visitors plan is too vague and this will mean people will assume it is something blogged already. We need to know if Petre knows something else. Grace and peace and good night.

[128] Posted by zebra on 09-25-2007 at 10:22 PM • top

Hollow men…“not with a bang, but a whimper.”

[129] Posted by PROPHET MICAIAH on 09-25-2007 at 10:22 PM • top

Where was it reported what the yes and no votes were?

[130] Posted by Rocks on 09-25-2007 at 10:24 PM • top

johnp suggests that Wolfe (of Kansas) was the only no vote. Do we know if this is true? Just curious.
Peace,
Scott

[131] Posted by Scott Gunn on 09-25-2007 at 10:26 PM • top

Johnp…where did you get the info about there being only 1 NO vote?

[132] Posted by Rocks on 09-25-2007 at 10:29 PM • top

Rocks is right; the bishops’ statement also makes clear that B033 is pointed at people like Mark Lawrence as well.

Sorry to see the Communion end this way, guys and gals.  Of course, the mistakes (though I believe they were mostly intentional) on the part of key players down the stretch, culminating in the sheer gutlessness of the “Windsor Frauds,” made the conclusion a foregone one.

VaAnglican, you’re batting 1.000 tonight.

[133] Posted by Phil on 09-25-2007 at 10:30 PM • top

Read Matt’s transcript for record of the one “No” vote.  I’d bet good money that it was Wolfe of Rhode Island, not the Wolfe of Kansas.

[134] Posted by Nyssa on 09-25-2007 at 10:32 PM • top

While the so-called progressives” (see Lewis on the term “progress”) may be happy with the response of the House and the General Convention, let us say with More: 
“I am able to produce against, one Bishop which you can produce on your side, a hundred holy and Catholic Bishops for my Opinion; and against one Realm, the Consent of Christendom for a thousand years.”

[135] Posted by murbles on 09-25-2007 at 10:32 PM • top

“That’s his, very poor, description of the PV/PC plan.”

Possibly, but with significant difference in content. Petre is not usually sloppy. I’d like confirmation.  ‘Chair apptd by RDW’ is not the Schori scheme.

[136] Posted by zebra on 09-25-2007 at 10:32 PM • top

This so-called Bishop’s statement is as ambiguous as B033. Our shepherds have deserted us to the depredations of the wolves.  It will mean whatever the reader wants it to.  We Episcopalians have doomed ourselves with our attachment to ambiguity and equivocation.  Unless we as a group (reasserters, that is) stand up for our faith (I have never heard “Onward Christian Soldiers” or Stand up, Stand up for Jesus” sung in an Episcopal church ) overthrow our feminized leadership and practice what was once referred to as “muscular Christianity”, we are doomed to repeat this cycle endlessly.  That is either insanity or hell, take your pick.  We are becoming unitarians with liturgy, a laughing-stock of a denomination with no roots and no destination.  “Once to every man and to every nation comes the moment to decide…”
http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/o/n/oncetoev.htm
I pray that God gives us strength to stand up and face the slings and arrows of our opponents as well as the same from our weaker brothers who haven’t the courage to stand.

[137] Posted by Charles III on 09-25-2007 at 10:32 PM • top

“But at a biblical and spiritual level, it seems to me the “Camp Allen conservatives,” if they do not put out a minority report, are declaring themselves fellow-travellers with the clear majority and hence “Windsor-uncompliant,” to use the official term. Or “lukewarm” to use a biblical term”.

I could come up with a couple of MILITARY terms to describe this sort of two-faced, cop-out behavior, but the Commenatrix has already had it with me. 

Suffice it to say that, when one drinks too much Kool-Aid, one eventually gets a nasty case of diarrhea.  The Camp Allen bishops may soon learn this the hard way. 

Dr. Seitz has the right idea about hitting the hay.  Maybe, too, we’ll all dream about a Scripturally-faithful Church.  I’m beginning to believe that the only place I will ever see such is in my own mind. 

Archbishop Anis has my vote for the next Archbishop of Canterbury. 

God bless, all—

TS

[138] Posted by Passing By on 09-25-2007 at 10:32 PM • top

Matt, reporting live, said he heard only one person say no.  It was a voice vote.  Wolfe (Matt’s spelling, which is significant) had objected prior to the vote, so the assumption that he voted no is a reasonable one.

[139] Posted by wildfire on 09-25-2007 at 10:33 PM • top

I think the minority report is currently under construction in Pittsburgh.  We must pray very hard for these men this week.  They carry the weight of the AC on their shoulders.  The HOB demonstrated that it doesn’t care one whit what the AC thinks or how it responds to them.  The Common Cause bishops still have a chance to keep the orthodox in the AC.  The HOB kissed us all goodbye today.

[140] Posted by terrafirma on 09-25-2007 at 10:34 PM • top

Put out a minority report?  After sitting mute while this junk was voted in by acclamation?  Don’t bother.

[141] Posted by Phil on 09-25-2007 at 10:36 PM • top

Can you believe we are going to have to go through this all over again at General Convention.  Integrity, a powerful Episcopal lobby group plans to lobby to repeal B033 at the 2009 General Convention.

“Integrity expects General Convention 2009 to be a tipping point for equality. We will be working hard in the months ahead to repeal B033 and to authorize development of a rite for blessing same-sex relationships as steps toward the goal of the full inclusion of all the baptized into the Body of Christ.”

[142] Posted by Betty See on 09-25-2007 at 10:38 PM • top

serious question time:

how can anyone who claims to be “anglican” stay with a church that gives the bird, even politely, to the AC?

[143] Posted by Clay From Dallas on 09-25-2007 at 10:51 PM • top

Okay here is the relevant portion of the live blog:

Wolfe: I am worried about voting on this in consensus

KJS: Would you like to vote or receive this by consensus

mixed

KJS: Let’s vote. All in favor of this?

Aye

No (I only heard one voice)

It’s clear “Wolfe” attempted to get a recorded vote and not just by a vote by consensus.
KJS quickly separates the 2 and asks if they should vote or just accept the report by consensus. This was not the question from Wolfe
Still There was a mixed response Which clearly indicates some did not see this as near unanimous, they wanted a vote.

KJS then says let’s vote but never addresses the original point from the floor and takes a voice vote and accepts the Ayes have it. This is exactly what Wolfe was worried about. Wolfe stated the question in a odd way but the intent seems clear, Wolfe wanted some discussion about not using a voice vote. So only 1 person bothers to say NO as it’s clear no official record will be made of who voted how any way and the Ayes had it.

That was a breach of Roberts Rules of Order IMHO by KJS. The Chair recognized and accepted the question from the floor but closed the meeting without ever properly addressing it.

In any case hearing one NO does not equal hearing everyone else say YES.

[144] Posted by Rocks on 09-25-2007 at 11:01 PM • top

Dr Seitz,
“Chair apptd by RDW” is the DES scheme.

[145] Posted by Rocks on 09-25-2007 at 11:06 PM • top

“To every man there openeth
A way and ways and a way;
And the high soul treads the high way,
And the low soul gropes the low;
And in between on the misty flats
The rest drift to and fro;
But to every man there openeth
A high way and a low,
And every man decideth
The way his soul shall go.” Oxenham

It’s that simple, folks.  I fear that some on whom we were depending are simply drifting to and fro (i.e., neither hot nor cold) - and I think we all know what is going to happen to them.

[146] Posted by Gigs Girl on 09-25-2007 at 11:15 PM • top

Everyone who signed on to this agreed to:

1) “In the near future we hope to be able to draw upon the benefits of the Communion-wide listening process.”
2) We offer assurance that delegated episcopal pastoral care is being provided for those who seek it.
3) we recognize a useful role for communion-wide consultation with respect to the ... pastoral needs of gay and lesbian persons in this and other provinces.
4) The 1998 Lambeth Conference called all the provinces of the Anglican Communion to engage in a “listening process” designed to bring gay and lesbian Anglicans fully into the Church’s conversation about human sexuality. ... We encourage the ACC to identify the variety of resources needed to accomplish these conversations.
5) It is our fervent hope that a way can be found for his (VGR) full participation (at Lambeth).
6) We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ all God’s children, including gay and lesbian persons, are full and equal participants in the life of Christ’s Church.

[147] Posted by BillK on 09-25-2007 at 11:20 PM • top

Can you believe we are going to have to go through this all over again at General Convention.

You mean you are going to be around for that meeting?  Not I.  The only hope now is Common Cause and if that does not succeed I will be long gone.  GS 2009 means nothing to me, now or later.  “lead us not into temptation” - yes, but we don’t go purposely headlong into it ourselves when we know where it is.

[148] Posted by Gigs Girl on 09-25-2007 at 11:21 PM • top

And this drama is going to be repeated again at General Convention 2009.
Pray that the Network Bishops can save us from this un-Christian church.

[149] Posted by Betty See on 09-25-2007 at 11:25 PM • top

Betty, I have no intention of being part of the TEC in two years. Do you?

[150] Posted by rob-roy on 09-25-2007 at 11:30 PM • top

The Episcopal Church has declared its independence from Scripture, tradition, reason, and the rest of the body of Christ.  In short, it is no longer catholic and no longer Christian.  Scripture is full of stories of folks who declared independence: Satan, Adam and Eve, Cain, ... the Anti-Christ. As it is freed from the chains of authority, the Episcopal Church will continue to astonish us with its bold arrogance.  Only we have access to gods spiritual direction; we know better than the Apostles, the church fathers, other Anglicans, other Christians.  The next GC is likely to be an all out victory party with no one left to question the content of the kool aid that is being served.  I am only shocked by the slow capitulation of previously orthodox bishops. 

Bp Steenson is right (http://www.cathnews.com/news/709/143.php)when he says, “I am concerned that if I do not listen to and act in accordance with conscience now, it will become harder and harder to hear God’s voice.”

Listen hard to the warning.

[151] Posted by BillK on 09-25-2007 at 11:47 PM • top

Do we have any way of knowing who voted against this tripe?

[152] Posted by Newbie Anglican on 09-26-2007 at 12:03 AM • top

Breaking Text = Breaking Wind.

Purple gasbags let another one. Petard hoist pending.

[153] Posted by Irenaeus on 09-26-2007 at 12:03 AM • top

“Do we have any way of knowing who voted against this tripe?”

Meaning the one voice vote against it?

[154] Posted by Irenaeus on 09-26-2007 at 12:05 AM • top

I think it’s time for me to put on my No-Whining, No-Freakout Zone t-shirt.

[155] Posted by Steve Lake+ on 09-26-2007 at 12:07 AM • top

Of course, Jesus also declared independence from the minutiae of the Law standing in the way of doing what is kind, good and right, such as healing on the Sabbath, picking grain to eat on the Sabbath, etc.  And Paul declared independence from the Law in favor of Grace.  And Peter declared independence from the Law as regards eating what the Law declared “unclean.”  And Paul also declared independence from the Law on the subject of eating meals with gentiles, the need for circumcision, and on and on and on. 

Seems like a little declaration of independence from fundamentalist interpretation can be a good thing now and then.

[156] Posted by Lorian on 09-26-2007 at 12:08 AM • top

It was only a voice vote so there is no way to really know who would have voted no. It’s seems only one actually spoke up.

If you have ever been a member of a club it is not unusual to hear no one say no after it’s clear a majority voted aye. It’s hardly worth the effort as the only thing the record will say is passed by voice vote.
Especially if you are frustrated to begin with.

[157] Posted by Rocks on 09-26-2007 at 12:09 AM • top

Well Lorian’s here…there goes this thread.

[158] Posted by Rocks on 09-26-2007 at 12:13 AM • top

Anyone else see the significance of this taking place in a city that was, until God allowed it to be wiped away, a place of profound sexual immorality? 

TEC’s answer to the Primates:  New Orleans = NO

[159] Posted by Daniel Lozier on 09-26-2007 at 12:14 AM • top

Very constructive, Rocks.

[160] Posted by Lorian on 09-26-2007 at 12:15 AM • top

We waited all day for this!? This looks like business as usual except they want and are demanding that incursions end….NOT HAPPENING! This waste of ink is like two middle fingers at the Primates, the Anglican Communion and the Conservative Orthodox Christians.
GEESH! May God have mercy on these people!

[161] Posted by TLDillon on 09-26-2007 at 12:27 AM • top

until God allowed it to be wiped away

A little over the line here.  I don’t think God gave us permission to speak for Him yet, at least not when it comes to “judgment.”  That’s a little like telling people they are sick because they sinned.  If that were the case, we’d all be dead already.  The NO stands well, however.

[162] Posted by Gigs Girl on 09-26-2007 at 12:41 AM • top

Lorian: These analogies have been discussed to death elsewhere, shown conclusively to be at best misguided and at worst simply silly, and are in any case off-topic on this thread.  Feel free to request references by private message (“My Account” at the top of the page).
<hr width=40%>
I found the flow of events at this meeting even stranger than usual.  In every sort of organization I’ve been associated with, business meetings are run on the usual Roberts “Reports-Old Business-New Business” model with motions from the floor and so on.  Not here.  We had several bishops showing up with resolutions to be considered, presumably on the assumption that the meeting would be run in the usual way.  Didn’t happen.

Instead, all the motions were referred to a committee composed of pliant nebbishops to be somehow harmonized (when they were self-evidently contradictory) and homogenized.  The resulting report, presented late in the proceedings, was at least honest, reflecting the divisions in the House, but was totally unresponsive to the Dar requests.  It was rejected by everyone, probably including even the squirrels outside the hotel looking longingly at the collection of nuts within.

So a panic ensued; Bruno took the helm to rewrite the resolution.  Then Mrs. Schori had an all-nighter with the ACC Canons, more mad rewriting, and finally this totally unresponsive piece was produced.  (Well, perhaps not totally unresponsive; Dr+ R gives it 40%—still a failing grade—but I’d say closer to 10%, for spelling “manner of life” correctly.)

Then the resolution was presented at a time in the meeting where there couldn’t possibly be any real discussion, let alone amendment or preparation of criticism; all that could be done was vote it up or down and then run to catch the plane home.

The conclusion I draw from this is that 815 is utterly terrified of any sort of genuine “democratic polity” at any level in ECUSA, and thus maintained an iron grip on the entire meeting.  That’s the only explanation I can imagine for the fact that this convention more resembled a session of the Supreme Soviet as interpreted by Monty Python than any sort of American (or British, for that matter) professional meeting.

(Mrs. Schori, by the way, is highly skilled at manipulating meetings from the chair; we here in Nevada admired her virtuoso performances at every Diocesan Convention.)

815 knows that it must retain total control, or ECUSA will fragment almost instantly.  The only question is how far they will go to keep it.

[163] Posted by Craig Goodrich on 09-26-2007 at 01:27 AM • top

Craig, interesting how you simply dismiss anyone who disagrees with the “party line” (speaking of Stalinist comparisons) in your breezy response to Lorian.  I’ve noticed that a lot on this website.  But then, having lived my life around Fundies, I recognize the pattern.  It’s been an interesting two days observing you folks…from the colorful language (e.g., Twisted Sister’s “Lucifer’s parliament of whores” comment in reference to the House of Bishops deliberations was was of the LESS colorful ones.  The whole string yesterday in reference to a same sex ceremony in Beverly Hills had even your regulars blushing and apologizing.  So…thanks for the lesson in what we are up against.  I’ve read Sarah Heyes essay on Little Stone Bridges and I see her point, so here’s one soldier for Christ who is going to do everything in his power to see that you don’t take this bridge.  And…since Matthew 5:43:45 is a great…but very difficult teaching, I’ll be praying for you all at the same time…that you be delivered from fear, and anger and hatred….and that God’ will be done.  Peace.

[164] Posted by Matthew 25:34-45 on 09-26-2007 at 01:54 AM • top

Matthew: Don’t complain.  At least your posts remain on this blog.  Fr. Jake simply removes posts from folks who disagree with his party line.  So don’t come in here with a sanctimonius attitude.  Lorian hijacked a whole thread a couple of days ago with the same arguments.  Nobody buys the “well there has been an instance in history when a Biblical interpretation was wrong, therefore this particular Biblical interpretation must also be wrong” schtik that Lorian is pushing.  Lorian can try to hijack another thread, but we are not obligated to entertain him or her.

[165] Posted by jamesw on 09-26-2007 at 02:22 AM • top

Mark,

The live blog on the debate is spotty because I had run down to the concierge to have the text of the statement faxed to someone who then scanned and then emailed the text back…all before KJS had finished reading…but even after the reading I was concentrating on getting the statement up.

The “debate” simply wasn’t. Bishop Geralyn Wolf of RI was the one who objected to the process; that a vote by acclamation would not allow dissenting voices to be heard.

Apparently Bill Love made the same objection but this was, for some reason, voiced through another bishop (it could be that this is because he is a very junior bishop and it is not customary for them to take part??)

In any case that there was only one voice raised as a “no” vote was clear, unless a bishop was speaking under his breath. I do not know who voted no. But, and the NYT confirms this, there was one only one audible no. It sounded like a male voice to me, but I could be mistaken.

The interesting question will be to discover how many Windsor Bishops were present: I believe that there were possibly around ten:
Howe, MacPherson, Jenkins, Wimberly, Wolf, Love, (I saw these). Questionable: Lillibridge, Bauerschmidt, Smith,
Extrememly questionable: Salmon?

We need to find out who was there

[166] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 09-26-2007 at 05:33 AM • top

For reasons I cannot explain any better than others, the Camp Allen bishops (whose earlier agreed-upon commitments, very straightforward it seemed, were leaked a couple of days ago) appear to have been a part of this dynamic in the end.

Ephraim,

With all due respect, I cannot read this any other way than “The CA bishops caved.”

[167] Posted by William Witt on 09-26-2007 at 06:25 AM • top

Matt: Lillibridge was present and sent these words to his priests:

FROM:        Bishop Lillibridge
House of Bishops, Tuesday September 25, 6:11 p.m.
In the last 30 minutes, we have adjourned the meeting of the House of Bishops, and the statement from the House is below.  I encourage you to read it prayerfully and carefully.
Bishop Reed and I will issue a more complete statement on Thursday when we return to the office. However, we promised to keep you informed during this meeting so I am sending you this brief message with the statement itself.  Let me say that the statement is somewhere between more than I thought we were going to get after yesterday’s difficult conversation and less than I had hoped for when I arrived last week.

[168] Posted by dpchalk+ on 09-26-2007 at 06:43 AM • top

The implications of all this outside the USA need to be given some thought, too. Especially how it will be presented in the media and by Bishops, Archbishops and such.

My fear is that from outside, this will be presented as a reasonable compromise.  Here’s the BBC’s take:

The BBC’s religious affairs correspondent, Robert Pigott, says the agreement will help defuse the crisis triggered by the US Church’s consecration of an openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson, in 2003.

But traditionalists in the US are already making plans to set up their own independent Church.

You see the framework of interpretation: the agreement should/could defuse the problem - if it weren’t for the intransigent conservatives whose plans to break up the church will go ahead despite the wise counsels which prevailed.

Some of us have Bishops and Archbishops who will almost certainly take this line. We need to get analysis from SF and other places which will help counter this spin and present the reality.

[169] Posted by William S on 09-26-2007 at 06:44 AM • top

That was a breach of Roberts Rules of Order IMHO by KJS. The Chair recognized and accepted the question from the floor but closed the meeting without ever properly addressing it.

Rocks,

Its a true and artful point, but it is also without meaning.  Many of the fudgees wanted and have gotten their protection.  They are now free to go out and tell their diocese that they opposed the report which they helped pass.  Its the Episcopal way. 

RSB

[170] Posted by R S Bunker on 09-26-2007 at 07:11 AM • top

I can speak only for myself.  I tend to identify myself as a “ComCon” instead of a “FedCon,” as those terms are thrown about, more willing to side with the efforts of Bishops Howe and Stanton and the ACI and not the breakaway efforts of Bishops Duncan and Iker.  But today where is the witness of that “ComCon” position?  Where are the Camp Allen principles? Where is a minority report? Is the only dissent to be heard in Pittsburgh?  Does Bishop Steenson have the only alternative?  Please….

[171] Posted by Dick Mitchell on 09-26-2007 at 07:17 AM • top

“We the undersigned pledge to change nothing, do nothing, repent nothing, and we give thanks to whatever runs the cosmos for this nice party down here in New Orleans.”  Who paid for this COMPLETE WASTE OF TIME?

[172] Posted by midwestnorwegian on 09-26-2007 at 07:20 AM • top

A bishop’s mitre is bilaterally symetrical.  It has two faces just like the TEC bishops.

[173] Posted by JamesR on 09-26-2007 at 07:22 AM • top

The NYT is reporting that +Pennsylvania was the no vote.

Chris+

[174] Posted by frepperson on 09-26-2007 at 07:43 AM • top

Yes, Dick M, your point is well taken. Where now lies the hope of the ComCon? Who will carry the flag? Who will blow the trumpet?

Without them, further interest in the goings-on of what remains of ECUSA becomes increasinly irrelevant, day by day. Pittsburgh looks more like Mecca each day. Why should we be concerned with TEC? Who will speak up for it? Who will strive for change from within? Who will give Biblically faithful Christians a reason, any reason, to stay and fight? Where is the hope?

from the Briar Patch,

[175] Posted by Br_er Rabbit on 09-26-2007 at 08:03 AM • top

What I posted in reply to Leander Harding on Titusonenine:
“The HOB most certainly did NOT agree that consents to the consecration of another non-celibate homsexual bishop would not be given.  They said that non-celibate homosexuals are included among the universe of persons whose manner of life might result in restraint being applied.  Just like retraint might be applied to any other person if his/her “manner of life” was deemed unacceptable.  They should have said that any person in a non-celibate homosexual relationship exhbits a manner of life that will prevent him/her from being confirmed.  That would have been unambiguous, What we got was more room to wriggle and waffle. ”

[176] Posted by DaveG on 09-26-2007 at 08:21 AM • top

To those within TEC attempting to witness, I’m sorry. It appears that the CommCon effort is quite dead.

I tried, for about 3 years to work these issues as a CommCon, but in the end was so frustrated by the institutional mindset present therein that I had to walk. Being a member of CANA and by definition a FedCon has brought me much peace.

My prayers to those abandoned within TEC by this horrid piece of fudge signed by your HoB. May God have mercy. Even if you don’t leave TEC, I invite you to find a CANA or AMiA church and rest your soul and spirit for a time.

[177] Posted by TnCANA on 09-26-2007 at 08:23 AM • top

jamesw:

I found your concise synopsis of the continuing disengagement of TEC/usa from the Communion to be helpful.  I too see the ABC as having been fairly consistent on this question since ‘04, but in the whole of his public ministry, having too carefully played the good cop to the Primates “bad” one. 

If the reports (from Integrity and others) are true, that ++Rowan did try to strongly persuade TEC to be faithful to Anglican tradition and bend to the will of the Primates, the question is did he finally brandish the big stick as he spoke softly?  The reported tirade of +VGR may suggest that the ABC did speak frankly, but from the press conference that followed it appeared that he had allowed them to believe that they actually still have credibility beyond our shores - that their thoughtfully stated position would be respected by more than just their ideological fellow-travelers.  And if they believed that, we can only expect that they would go back into their smoke-filled rooms and be the den of prevaricators and hucksters that we know the majority of them to be.  In such a scenario, our already compromised Camp Allen bishops would think political maneuvering and negotiation things of value and service to the church, and the result is simply another piece of gamesmanship where the Blessed Holy Trinity and Truth are left on the periphery.

[178] Posted by young joe from old oc on 09-26-2007 at 08:35 AM • top

Who paid for this COMPLETE WASTE OF TIME?

We did!  And the price involves a lot more than money.  How much are our souls worth?  I, for one, cannot stay in unity with a church that so flagrantly disregards scripture, tradition, and reason.  The 1953 members of Integrity are running the show.  Wait till GC 2009.  It ought to be a beaut.  If the CC bishops don’t come up with an adequate solution to this quagmire, I will be joining +Steenson or Sarah.

[179] Posted by terrafirma on 09-26-2007 at 08:49 AM • top

DeS asked three things. The Response to Questions rejects two of the three. On the third, the request to not ordain homosexual bishops, their response depends on the existence of B033. After they have tea with the queen in 2008, they will repeal B033 in 2009. Then the TEC will be zero for 3 in the DeS requests in a year and a half. And I don’t think they are worrying about 2018 invitations.

[180] Posted by robroy on 09-26-2007 at 10:13 AM • top

We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ there is no Jew or Greek, no male or female, no slave or free.

In the very next sentence there is this gem:

We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ all God’s children, including women, are full and equal participants in the life of Christ’s Church.

Bizarre!

[181] Posted by Piedmont on 09-26-2007 at 10:23 AM • top

Rob Roy, Thanks for asking about my plans, I pray that my parish will continue to stand firm and hope Common Cause will provide the leadership the Church needs but at my age it is difficult to travel very far every week.
I am thankful that I received good Biblical teaching in my youth and that God led me to a good parish, I pray He will lead me where I should be.

[182] Posted by Betty See on 09-26-2007 at 10:43 AM • top

“Blessing of Same-Sex Unions…We, the members of the House of Bishops, pledge not to authorize for use in our dioceses any public rites of blessing of same-sex unions….”
But private unions can continue???? Think about the twist in words. The “Prophetic” Bishops have an agenda - “if it feels good, do it, we will agree…after all, we are the only ones who have been revealed of the new thing God is doing”    Lord have mercy!
E. Martinez, Colorado

[183] Posted by FrJimFC on 09-26-2007 at 10:48 AM • top

We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ all God’s children, including women , are full and equal participants in the life of Christ’s Church.

Bizarre!

It’s not bizarre.  Full and equal participants = ordained priests and consecrated bishops.  They’re just reminding you that if they step back on the homosexual thing maybe next they’ll be asked to step back on the WO thing—since the rationale for both is the “full inclusion of the baptized.”

[184] Posted by Catholic Mom on 09-26-2007 at 11:04 AM • top

Ken Peck said . . . .

“Putting on my swim suit.
What’s the water like in the Bosphorus?”

As Teacozy said upstream, “It’s fine!”  I’ve been a member of the Antiochian Orthodox Church for over five years now, and the liturgy and the light and wonder just keep getting brighter and more magical with every liturgy.  So dive in!, We’re waiting on the other side with warm fluffy towels, hot tea and the bread of life.

[185] Posted by The Pilgrim on 09-26-2007 at 11:07 AM • top

Catholic Mom get’s it grin
Yes, I believe that is their premise.

[186] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 09-26-2007 at 11:14 AM • top

It’s all about plausible deniability for the furtherance of lawsuits designed to get property away from the people who worship within it.  A more profound misunderstanding of what constitutes the Church cannot be imagined short of the Spanish Inquisition.  Still, I have no doubt that most nurtured their self image of piety while doing so.

[187] Posted by Pernoctate on 09-26-2007 at 12:00 PM • top

Ken Peck said . . . .
“Putting on my swim suit.
What’s the water like in the Bosphorus?”

The water’s fine.  Come and see.  But move towards God’s prompting with discernment of the Body ... towards the beauty of holiness and not simply away from trouble.  Many will find that they bring their anger with them ... so give yourselves time to heal.  I became Antiochian Orthodox over ten years ago.  My heart changed at the epiklesis during one particular liturgy and those people became family…another way of perceiving the Body in the breaking of the bread! I am not a stranger in a strange land.  I no longer weep through every liturgy for the sheer beauty of it but it is good to be home.  It’s OK to shed a few tears, as Lewis suggests in _The Last Battle_ for the old Narnia we knew and loved but come deeper in and discover that no good thing is lost.  Welcome again to the household of God, Ken. 
Pax,  John

[188] Posted by Pernoctate on 09-26-2007 at 12:20 PM • top

Matthew, thanks for your defense of my comment.  Yes, it appears to me from my recent experiences that comments which disagree with the main thrust of the OP, or with other commenters’ elaborations on that thrust, are labeled as “off-topic.”  “On-topic,” apparently, consists in agreeing with the party line except in certain areas where actual debate is tolerated, such as WO

Regarding rites of blessing for same-gender couples, I thought the statement was quite clear:  Such rites will not be authorized at the diocesan level—meaning, diocesan bishops will not disseminate “official” liturgies for the blessing of same-gender couples.  The blessings, themselves, may take place at the discretion of the parish priest and/or vestry. 

This was what +Jon Bruno was referring to the other day when he very rightly said that blessings do not take place in his diocese with his consent, meaning with his formal authorization.  He leaves such matters up to the discretion of the priests in each parish.

The HOB has therefore agreed that, for the time being, they will not authorize official rites of blessing for same-gender couples, either at the provincial or diocesan levels.  They have not in the past agreed, nor are they now agreeing, to forbid parish priests from conducting such blessings as a matter of pastoral care which the priest, in good conscience, feels s/he should or should not provide.

Makes good sense to me.  I’m not sure why it has been so difficult for so many to understand +Bruno’s position on this.  He has performed such blessings in the past, and even provided a liturgy on the diocesan web-site.  That’s common public knowledge, not a “dirty little secret.”  He does not now do so because he has elected to follow the dictates of B033, by not himself performing such rites, and by not authorizing them as diocesan standard.  There is no requirement that he forbid them at the parish level, however.

[189] Posted by Lorian on 09-26-2007 at 12:57 PM • top

“There is no requirement that he forbid them at the parish level, however.’

No, there isn’t, which is why this statement is a fraud, that being what they were asked to do by the Primates.

[190] Posted by Phil on 09-26-2007 at 01:16 PM • top

Catholic mom is right. WO came with a price and the price is being exacted now. Their job was to turn the key and crack the door. All the while the lesbigay crowd was waiting in the shadows to steal and pervert the WO’s arrival and place. It seems the theft of a church has been made complete. Has the apple now been bitten twice?

[191] Posted by Laytone on 09-26-2007 at 02:14 PM • top

Lorian:

“On-topic,” apparently, consists in agreeing with the party line except in certain areas where actual debate is tolerated, such as WO.

Wrong again, I’m afraid; “on-topic” simply means “on-topic” here.  And on any topic, you can’t expect to be taken seriously if you yourself don’t take the topic seriously enough to do your homework first.

The [SS] blessings, themselves, may take place at the discretion of the parish priest and/or vestry.

This was what +Jon Bruno was referring to the other day when he very rightly said that blessings do not take place in his diocese with his consent, meaning with his formal authorization.  He leaves such matters up to the discretion of the priests in each parish.

Quite right; in addition, the term “Rites” is ambiguous, and can mean either some solemn ritual performed at a specific time and place, or a specification of the form of such a ritual—rather like “play” in “He went to a play last night” vs “He finished writing a play last night.”  This is another possibility for weasel-wording a response to Dar, and it has been so used (“GC has not approved any Rite ...”).

But the point is that the Dar request itself, under any reasonable interpretation, is not ambiguous:

21. However, secondly, we believe that there remains a lack of clarity about the stance of The Episcopal Church, especially its position on the authorisation of Rites of Blessing for persons living in same-sex unions.  There appears to us to be an inconsistency between the position of General Convention and local pastoral provision.  We recognise that the General Convention made no explicit resolution about such Rites and in fact declined to pursue resolutions which, if passed, could have led to the development and authorisation of them.  However, we understand that local pastoral provision is made in some places for such blessings.  It is the ambiguous stance of The Episcopal Church which causes concern among us.

Thanks, Ed!

Quite clearly what the Primates are concerned with here is any blessing of a same-sex union, whether performed as a “pastoral accomodation” or not, using an “official” rite or not.  This is why Bruno’s response is blatantly disingenuous.

[192] Posted by Craig Goodrich on 09-26-2007 at 02:30 PM • top

HANKS:  Regarding your:

<blockqote>“Chicago delegates may not take that chance.”
“What chance?  As with New Hampshire, the local decision will carry great weight.  How could TEC argue with a decision led by the Holy Spirit?”</blockquote>

Remember South Carolina, Hanks?  Near unanimous approval for Mark Lawrence and the Diocese around the country plus 815 did him in!

[193] Posted by Bill C on 09-26-2007 at 02:41 PM • top

Craig, I’m quite certain my homework is done.  If you want to try to school me, feel free.

Phil, there is nothing fraudulent in conceding only to the point where you are able to do so.  B033 was damaging and hurtful enough to the GLBT membership of TEC; the Bishops clearly felt that to go further would be to prevent individual priests from acting according to the dictates of their own consciences, and were not willing to take such a step.  They made a substantial concession in agreeing to B033 as it was.  To abide by it strictly, as +Bruno has done, shows that they made the level of concession they were willing/able to make.  To expect them to expand upon it in this session was unrealistic and demonstrated a clear disregard for the pastoral needs of GLBT Christians.

Laytone, WO was not a “means to an end”—a way for gays to “get a foot in the door.”  GLBT Christians and women are two distinct, though intersecting, groups who have both faced discrimination through much of the history of the church.  Both seek full inclusion. 

Unless, of course, you’d like to claim that the full inclusion/ordination of black Christians was simply a means to an end so that women could get their foot in the door?  That argument would be equally ludicrous.

[194] Posted by Lorian on 09-26-2007 at 02:42 PM • top

I find it hard to credit the bishop’s references to the leading of the Holy Spirit when many bishops including KJS don’t see Jesus as more than a fine man, one amongst many thers such as Buddha and Mahommad.
I think that the reaction to ++Anis’ sermon by the bishops says a great deal about their beliefs regarding the ‘faith once given’, the authority of the Scriptures, the claims of Jesus about Himself. 
All this simply goes on to support the the cynical manner in which this report was crafted.

[195] Posted by Bill C on 09-26-2007 at 02:52 PM • top

Lorian, that post about Bruno is a riot.  He says he has not authorized blessings in his diocese, but he has DONE them, and is aware of them going on in the diocese.  He leaves them up to the individual priests and parishes, and does not discipline anyone for doing them, despite Communion teaching. 

That’s not even “spin”, Ma’am, that’s the Liars’ Theatre of the Absurd.

And then, there’s this: 

“And Paul also declared independence from the Law on the subject of eating meals with gentiles, the need for circumcision, and on and on and on.

Seems like a little declaration of independence from fundamentalist interpretation can be a good thing now and then”. 

Fundamentalist interpretation, as opposed to the “validate me and all my actions” interpretation? 

You are (I won’t even say “honestly”) going to liken Jesus’s relaxation of the dietary laws to a relaxation of the Scriptural charges against porneia? 

Well, congratulations, because you’re the first person who ever Biblically did that in print. 

Consider yourself lucky that I don’t launch that phenom into how it relates to the ease of justifying all the “acts” or lack thereof, that ART encompasses. 

When even something as basic as the truth is a challenge, then I suppose the “anything goes” mentality is not too far behind it. 

“On and on and on”, except for that pesky little thing; the prohibition of porneia.  But, I guess when you edit that from your Biblical reading, it follows that you can also edit that teaching from your life. 

Time for a shower…

God help us all—

TS

[196] Posted by Passing By on 09-26-2007 at 02:53 PM • top

The “authorization” issue boils down to the spirit of the “law” versus the letter of the “law”.  This text seeks to squeak by.  Why? 

Jesus said in Matthew 5:37:  Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. 

Since these bishops are willing to let priests under them bless gay unions (while pretending they don’t see it), then the bishops should own up to it.  There’s no way today NOT to know about it.  If these bishops are so convinced that their “new” thing is correct and the wave of the Holy Spirit, then they should have fought for it tooth and nail loudly and clearly - not backed down under the cloud of hidden definitions.  You need a secret decoder ring to undertstand their intentions. 

Orthodox Christianity says that this isn’t the way to go.  It took 30-40 years for the “new” thing to take over in TEC.  You can bet ithe same strategy is in place for the rest of the Commuinon - all they need is time.

We were struck by what David Roseberry wrote:

The debate and the rancor in TEC had created a high pitch noise behind every single aspect of the ministry at Christ Church. New members always asked where I stood on “the issues.” The coffee hour had become a chat-fest about the latest comment, blog entry, election, or opinion of some bishop or clergy leader. I had postponed a needed building project because of the Episcopal crisis. I could not raise any funds for our future. Our vestry was very concerned about the impact on attendance and giving. And the whole purpose of our ministry - to make disciples of Jesus Christ and to teach them to obey the commands of Christ - was getting lost in the noise of a fractured and contentious church. Visitors to our church on Sunday slowed to a trickle. Our mission was being sidelined.

That describes probably every church in some degree, don’t you think?

We go back to the question of why all of this.  We read in Joyce Meyer’s “Battlefield of the Mind” in Chapter 1, page 16, a summary applicable to this mess:

1.  We are engaged ina war.
2.  Our enemy is Satan.
3.  The mind is the battlefield.
4. The devil works diligently to set up strongholds in our minds.
5.  He does it through strategy and deceit (through well-laid plans and deliberate deception).
6.  He is in no hurry; he takes his time to work out his plan.

Time is needed to keep going down a path that is not Scriptural.  Time is needed for those who have chosen a different path to continue to infiltrate and take over.

We are not without weapons.  Babyblue made that point in the Roundtable discussion. We forget that our biggest and greatest tool is God.  And He gave us prayer.  Let’s use that more efficiently and effectively.  Pray that God brings His light into these Bishops and Primates.  Let’s give Him our prayer and praise.  These are weapons that can’t be copied or misused.  God knows the heart.  Let’s pray for His purpose to come about.

[197] Posted by The Lakeland Two on 09-26-2007 at 03:56 PM • top

I am probably the only person left in the Episcopal Church who has no strong feelings about the blessing of same-gender unions. 

I don’t really know if God is offended by the idea or not, but I think you folks against this idea have not made a convincing case that the Bible forbids it.  You certainly haven’t made the case that these blessings would be outside the tenents of Anglicanism as it is defined today.

Here’s why I say that:  There are about five or six references to same gender behaviors in the Bible.  If you look back at the original languages of the Bible, you will see that these behaviors are limited to male prostitution, pagan rituals, and lust (as in the the substitution of sex for God).  There is nothing in the Bible that suggests that any of its writers understood human sexuality in the way we know it today.  The Bible seems to assume everyone is heterosexual.  In fact, there is no word for “homosexual” in ancient Greek or Hebrew.  Every reference to homos in the Bibles we use today is an approximation developed by translators ... and even then the Greek and Hebrew words are different.  The term homosexual only started showing up in Bibles in the 20th century.

You also haven’t answered the question of why we should rely on the Biblical passages that speak against these same-gender behaviors as the words of God, but skip over the other stuff that might keep us from wearing polyester, eating a rare hamburger, or stoning bad children to death.  The use of the word “abomination” tells us that these writers are referring to ritual practices, not entire class of human beings.

With respect to the Anglican Communion, the idea that we can only bless one-man-one-woman relationships went by the wayside in 1988 when the Primates voted that Anglicanism did not bar practicing polygamists from being baptised and confirmed.  Yes, they did say these fellows could not take any more wives, but they could keep the ones they already had (and BTW keep having sex with all them as well.)  Some of these wives are actually close relatives thus bringing up the incest issue.  In short, according to the Primates, in certain circumstances a person can be involved in a sexual relationship with multiple partners and still be an Anglican in good standing.  They said it was not ‘preferred’, but not outside ethos of Anglicanism.  If you think about it, that means the Anglican Communion is more liberal on the subject of polygamy than the Mormons.  To my way of thinking this is far more of a stretch than someone like Robinson who is living a committed, loving, non-exploitive relationship with an equal.

What am I missing here?

[198] Posted by Charlie on 09-26-2007 at 04:24 PM • top

Twisted Sister, my relationship with my partner is not “porneia,” and your continual description of it as such, along with your references to dirtiness and taking a shower, etc., does constitute rude personal attack. 

As to Bishop Bruno’s statement, you are confused.  He has pledged, since the passing of B033, not to authorize rites for same-gender blessing in his diocese, nor to perform them himself.  He has kept this promise.  He was quite clear from the get-go that other priests in the diocese were free to make their own pastoral decisions regarding blessing same-gender unions.  What part of this is so difficult to understand?  As the bishop of the diocese, he agreed to refrain, until further agreements could be reached, from performing such unions himself, or authorizing public liturgies for the use of the entire diocese for such rites.  This is what he has abided by and continues to abide by.

[199] Posted by Lorian on 09-26-2007 at 04:25 PM • top

Lorien, that is the kernel of the issue:  you say same-gender relationships are not porneia, while we believe that God indeed considers it so.  That’s the conflict.

And there is no confusion about +Bruno’s policies.  The issue causing the outrage is that the intent of the Primates was clearly to uphold the teaching of the Communion, specifically Lambeth 1.10.  They were not asking the Bishops to “not authorize a liturgy.”  They were asking that same-gender blessings should cease altogether, authorized or un.  Believing as they do, that same-gender relationships are outside of the blessing of God in any way, they do not see ssbs as a “pastoral response.”  So their intent was to take away the option from bishops and clergy, public or private, known or unknown.  This may not be what progressives want to hear, but I believe it is the case.  And I believe that they believe it is the most loving course of action for everyone—gays, straights, bishops, laity, whatever.  I happen to agree.

God bless and keep you.

[200] Posted by Cindy T. in TX on 09-26-2007 at 06:22 PM • top

Lorian - Sorry I misspelled your name!  Too much LOTR in my head.

[201] Posted by Cindy T. in TX on 09-26-2007 at 06:38 PM • top

Charlie:  You ask you are missing.  The truth.  No matter what words are written, the truth remains.  Please pray and ask God what He wants to show you. 

Charlie wrote:  You certainly haven’t made the case that these blessings would be outside the tenents of Anglicanism as it is defined today.

 

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 

Jesus’ own words from Matthew 19

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”

That’s pretty specific.

Charlie wrote: The term homosexual only started showing up in Bibles in the 20th century.

 
Leviticus 18:22 Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.

And there are many other things that are destable, but Proverbs 6:16-19 teaches:

16 There are six things the LORD hates,
    seven that are detestable to him:

17 haughty eyes,
    a lying tongue,
    hands that shed innocent blood,

18 a heart that devises wicked schemes,
    feet that are quick to rush into evil,

19 a false witness who pours out lies
    and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.


Scripture shows us a lot of what we shouldn’t do and do.  Jesus modeled compassion but urged/commanded the adulterous woman He saved from stoning her to sin no more.

There is not one person who posts from a reasserter view who does not acknowledge that they have areas of sin that they struggle with.  That is the difference here.  Orthodox Christians recognize that which has been defined in the Bible as sin is sin.  Rewriting the Bible because of perceived knowledge of what God had in mind is not part of that. 

The primates have asked TEC to repent and return to traditional faith.  This they did not do.  What is the heart of TEC?  Even in their response they keep their feet firmly on their own path.  Let them fully choose one or the other.  Jesus said in Luke 9:62: “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” 

If TEC is convince that their path is the correct one, why hold to the old? 

Again, pray.  Ask God to reveal what is true and what is not.  We have been taught and learned through experience that what is true conforms to the Word of God.  When all else fails, check the “Book”.

[202] Posted by The Lakeland Two on 09-26-2007 at 06:44 PM • top

Cindy, no problem.  Gotta love Tolkien.

I’d have to disagree with you about there being “no confusion” about +Bruno’s policies.  I have seen any number of posts accusing him of duplicity because blessings are obviously taking place in some parishes within the LA Diocese, alongside his statement that he does not specifically authorize same-gender blessings at the diocesan level.  He has also been accused of lying because he says he does not perform same-gender blessings.  It is common knowledge that he has done so in the past, but he has chosen not to do so since agreeing to abide by B033.  This hardly constitutes lying.  He doesn’t claim that he has NEVER performed such a blessing. 

You may not be unclear about +Jon’s statements, Cindy, but certainly some people are, or at least, are trying to misrepresent him in such a way as to damage his reputation.

The Lakeland Two, the passages you quote have been discussed again and again, and I’m not even going to dignify your Leviticus quotes by addressing them again at this moment.  But I must point out regarding your quotation of Jesus from Matthew 19, that you have fallen into the same trap that many fundamentalists fall into—that of attempting to use scriptures entirely out of context in order to “prove” a point which they were not even intended to address. 

If you examine Matthew 19 in toto, it becomes exceedingly clear that, not only is Jesus NOT, as you claim, “specifically” addressing homosexuality vs. heterosexuality.  Rather, he is answering a specific question from the religious leaders regarding whether or not it is permissable for a man to divorce his wife and marry another woman.  Clearly, he would answer such a question in the same terms in which it was asked—a man marrying or divorcing a woman.  He did not define the terms of the question, nor was he specifying that such was the only possible human relationship nor the only valid form of love.  He was specifically responding to a question about heterosexual divorce, not gay marriage.

This type of misrepresentation by conservatives does nothing to further your cause.  It just makes your arguments appear disingenuous.

[203] Posted by Lorian on 09-26-2007 at 08:11 PM • top

Hmmm.  Balance Scripture and what Jesus says versus what Lorian claims….Scripture will win every time despite Lorian’s condescending pronouncemnts that any argument not liked is “disingenuous” or the like. 

And you say fundamentalist like it’s a bad thing. wink.  May God bless you and enlighten you.

[204] Posted by The Lakeland Two on 09-26-2007 at 08:53 PM • top

I think Joe Dallas’s book, “A Strong Delusion” pretty much covers and debunks all the scriptural interpretations put forward by the gay movement.

[205] Posted by Canuck on 09-26-2007 at 09:10 PM • top

Lakeland Two, you mean your interpretation of what scripture “says.”  I don’t see what the Bible is saying as anything to do with what you are claiming. 

Why do you presume to tell people like Charlie and me to pray and ask God to show us what we are to see?  Why do you assume that we have not done so?  Why do you assume that we have not spent hours and hours upon our knees, begging for God’s wisdom, insight, guidance and direction?  Because we came to a different conclusion than the one which you have reached?  Why are you so ready to assume that it is we who have failed to hear God’s voice clearly; we who have reached the wrong conclusions?  Why do you presume to make the judgment that God has allowed US to be led astray? 

I don’t think God is a lousy parent who, when God’s children ask for guidance and direction, will send them off on the path to hell for the fun of it, so that God can sit and snicker as they hit the flames.  If I ask God for guidance and direction, I trust that God provides me with such.  Why do you presume that my prayers are inferior to your own?

[206] Posted by Lorian on 09-26-2007 at 09:14 PM • top

Canuck, so you’re saying that Joe Dallas’ book disputes the fact that Matthew 19 is discussing the sin of heterosexuals divorcing and remarrying, rather than an example of Jesus glorifying straight love and condemning gays? 

I’d be interested to see that argument.

[207] Posted by Lorian on 09-26-2007 at 09:16 PM • top

Lorian,

Where in the Bible does it say or imply that same sex relationships are to be blessed and celebrated equal to or on par with heterosexual marriage?

[208] Posted by BillS on 09-26-2007 at 09:32 PM • top

Lorian:

don’t think God is a lousy parent who, when God’s children ask for guidance and direction, will send them off on the path to hell for the fun of it, so that God can sit and snicker as they hit the flames.

No, He’s not.  There’s this little thing called the BIBLE - like it has directions in it and stuff.  Our job is to read them, comprehend them and then OBEY THEM.

That last one’s always the sticking point - and the reason some cannot clearly discern God’s Will - because they don’t like what it’s saying.

Romans 12:

1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual[a] act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

[209] Posted by Eclipse on 09-26-2007 at 09:33 PM • top

Lorian - I think we are talking at cross-purposes here.  Yes, we can proof-text anything - heck, I’ve heard the arguments that David and Jonathan were really lovers, that Ruth and Naomi were life-partners, the stuff about “temple prostitutes” and all that.
What needs to happen is a look at Scripture as a whole - and the example that is given, over and over, of a blessed relationship.  If God wanted to let us know that same-sex relationships were what He wants for people, or even acceptable, don’t you think He would have been able to let us know - in thousands of words over thousands of years?  He did many “new things” with Abraham, with Israel, with the Jews and Greeks and all the world - why is it that, after 5,000+ years of His communications, this hasn’t come up until now?  PLEASE don’t say that it is about cultural filters and the like, ‘cause I’ll scream.  EVERYTHING that God did was against the flow, unbelievable, counter-culture.
I’m not pulling out Levitical law, or flinging the bash-verses at you - I’m trying to take a look at the Scripture as a piece - yesterday, today and tomorrow, God is the same.  I just can’t believe that, if He wanted this to be blessed, that He would have kept it a secret for the 20th/21st centuries.  I just can’t go there.

[210] Posted by GillianC on 09-26-2007 at 09:36 PM • top

Lorian
Would you be willing to share your salvation experience with us?  What is your Christian witness…when did you come to acknowledge Christ as your Lord and Savior?  Inquiring minds want to know.

[211] Posted by no longer NH Episcopalian on 09-26-2007 at 10:11 PM • top

Lorian, perhaps spending hours reading His Word (I’m guilty of spending WAY to little time there) would be a clear step toward knowing Him and His desires for you. 
Our minds and our hearts and our desires get in the way so much, and none of us are perfect - or even near the mark.  God’s word is the truth, and it doesn’t change, no matter how the “interpretation” game goes.  Plain reading of plain words - forget “cultural influences” and “misogynistic viewpoints”. 
My heart goes out to you in your searching and obvious struggle to come to peace with your decisions and your choices.  We all face that, and the Scripture is where you find your answers.  I’m not trying to be condescending - I don’t think anyone here is.  We just think you’re wrong.

[212] Posted by GillianC on 09-26-2007 at 10:24 PM • top

Where in the Bible does it say or imply that same sex relationships are to be blessed and celebrated equal to or on par with heterosexual marriage?

Bill, where in the Bible do you find any directives for the ceremonial religious celebration and blessing of any marriage, whether between people of the same or the opposite gender?

Marriage was not an official “sacrament” until the Council of Trent, and its conferral was, if anything, in the hands of civil authorities.  Most usually, it was accomplished simply by the establishment of a bargain between two families, followed by a celebratory feast and, ultimately, a consummation ritual, whether literal or figurative.

If the validity of your marriage ceremony and your right to the church’s blessing of it is to depend upon a scriptural directive, I’m afraid you are out of luck.

[213] Posted by Lorian on 09-26-2007 at 10:24 PM • top

Hello, Lorian?  would you like to share your Christian witness??

[214] Posted by no longer NH Episcopalian on 09-26-2007 at 10:31 PM • top

Lorian - you’ve suddenly gotten so quiet.  Perhaps it’s that you have no witness, no salvation story?  See, Lorian that’s the REAL DEAL with all this Episcomess.  There are those who acknowledge Jesus and their Lord and Savior and there are those who don’t.  All the rest is details.

[215] Posted by no longer NH Episcopalian on 09-26-2007 at 10:38 PM • top

Gillian, why do you assume I am not “at peace?”  I thank God for the peace I’ve been given.  The turmoil came from the literalist, judgmental, hatefulness of the fundamentalist church in which I was raised.  The peace came from God, as did the joy, the love, the family, the children, the abundant life. 

Having spent years reading the Bible and praying regarding this issue, and having reached the conclusion that God made me the way I am, and not as a cruel joke, but because it pleased God to do so, and pleased God for me to live a responsible, caring and loving life in partnership with the woman God gave me for my partner, I have no qualms in saying that, whatever you may believe God has revealed to you on the subject, I have no “conviction of sin” in my life due to my loving, sacramental, covenantal relationship with my partner.  Nor do I expect to acquire such “conviction of sin” by any further reading, study or prayer I might do.

[216] Posted by Lorian on 09-26-2007 at 10:41 PM • top

Oh, now we’re picking nits here.
“If the validity of your marriage ceremony and your right to the church’s blessing of it is to depend upon a scriptural directive, I’m afraid you are out of luck.”

Genesis 2:24Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

OK, no ceremony - just the concept - “wife”.  Don’t need a ceremony, but it is obviously a blessed relationship.  I didn’t count how many times the words “husband” and “wife” occur in scripture, but not ONCE did they relate to two persons of the same sex.  Not once.  So, we are back to splitting hairs about whether the church should “officially” bless a union, or not.  We’re talking relationships, you’re talking church rites.  Different discussions, don’t you think?
That’s the problem with Bruno’s statements - he KNOWS that the Primates are talking about blessing and acknowledging a personal relationship, and he’s talking about some sort of official ceremony.  They say potato, he says we have no bananas.

[217] Posted by GillianC on 09-26-2007 at 10:42 PM • top

Pardon me if I’m a little slow, Desperate NH, but not only am I working on a project, but my posts seem to be coming up extremely slowly, possibly due to server overload?  I guess you’ll have to be a bit patient if you wish to hear my responses.

[218] Posted by Lorian on 09-26-2007 at 10:44 PM • top

Lorian,
The very first miracle our Lord and Savior performed was at the wedding in Cana. Gee, I wonder what that wedding “ceremony” really looked like and sounded like? Since I wasn’t there I can only guess? But, I am fairly confident that there was a ceremony joining one man to one woman.

[219] Posted by TLDillon on 09-26-2007 at 10:50 PM • top

Lorian,

Nice try at ducking the question. The Bible is full of references to husbands and wives and the duty that they owe to each other, and you know perfectly well that I was not asking about the particulars of the ceremony.

No such references exist for partnered gays. It is a simple question. Where is the Biblical justification for blessing same sex relationships on par with heterosexual marriage?

[220] Posted by BillS on 09-26-2007 at 10:54 PM • top

Pardon me if I’m a little slow, Desperate NH, but not only am I working on a project, but my posts seem to be coming up extremely slowly, possibly due to server overload? I guess you’ll have to be a bit patient if you wish to hear my responses.

Gee Lorian,
You had your perfect opportunity right there on this posting and well….what happened? Words fail ya?

[221] Posted by TLDillon on 09-26-2007 at 10:55 PM • top

Lorian, what I said was “My heart goes out to you in your searching and obvious struggle to <u>come to peace</u> with your decisions and your choices.”  I meant past-tense as it is obvious that you have come to peace with your choices.  I’m glad you have peace, though I still think you’re wrong.  I don’t believe that God meant for you to be in a relationship with another woman, though I am glad that you have joy in your family.  I don’t know you, and I cannot judge you or your choices. 

I DO know that the Anglican church, and the majority of Christians in the world, do not agree that how you are living is a choice that is blessed by God.  I guess my main question is - why be an Anglican, Episcopalian, whatever, if the majority does not agree with you?  Why not join the MCC or another church?  That is the main question I have for the progressive folks - why here?  We want to be part of this church, except for this part here, so we’ll just change that part, ‘cause we want to.
I guess many conservatives are feeling hijacked, and tired of the victim mentality of the hijackers.
I digress - as I said, no insult or assumptions made.  I’m tired and heading for bed. 
Peace be with us all.
Gillian

[222] Posted by GillianC on 09-26-2007 at 10:56 PM • top

Gillian, since homosexuals make up only somewhere between 2% and 10% of the overall population, and have likely never exceeded that ratio, I’m not in the least surprised that the Biblical writers have focused on heterosexual relationships in their discussions of how humans are to behave with respect to their spouses and families. 

As a discriminated-against minority through much of history, the likelihood of homosexual couples living openly in any numbers that would merit even simple acknowledgement is fairly slim.

[223] Posted by Lorian on 09-26-2007 at 11:00 PM • top

Hey folks, ease up on Lorian. She is engaging us in conversation, and we don’t need to get sharp - snide comments and put-downs are not necessary IMHO.
Thanks!

[224] Posted by GillianC on 09-26-2007 at 11:00 PM • top

Dragged me back, you have.
Ok, so homosexual couples have not had a fair shake in history - except perhaps in ancient Greece.  That is another story altogether.  I’m a divorced woman, and if you think that the 20th century has “liberated” me, you’re wrong. I digress again….
My point was that God is capable of many “new things” - different from all the norms of society and culture.  What you seem to be saying is that He is not powerful enough to get his message through the cultural and historical filters - therefore Scripture is merely man’s record not God’s Word.  If that is your viewpoint, then my urging you to read the book is useless, since I put a different level of veracity to the words and meanings written there.
Fair enough - two different views, that don’t belong in the same church.
Question though - how do you sort out what is the TRUTH and what is not?  Just the parts you agree with, or can explain, or feel right to you?  That doesn’t sound like faith to me, it sounds like reason - and human reason is SO untrustworthy….

[225] Posted by GillianC on 09-26-2007 at 11:09 PM • top

Lorian,

Your argument seems to be that homosexuals are such a small % of the population that Biblical writers just never really addressed the issue. Yet there are those troublesome “clobber” passages, so it did come up in the Bible. If we as a Church are to change our understanding of same sex relationships and celebrate them as equivalent to heterosexual marriage, where is the Biblical justification for this change?

[226] Posted by BillS on 09-26-2007 at 11:23 PM • top

One Day Closer, are you saying that because Jesus attended a (presumably) heterosexual wedding, this somehow constitutes a condemnation of homosexuality or a declaration that sacramental marriage is solely for the participation of opposite-gendered couples?  Not sure what your point is.  What does the Wedding at Cana have to do with the issue of blessing same-gendered couples?

[227] Posted by Lorian on 09-26-2007 at 11:37 PM • top

The lesson of this—and Lorian is once again succeeding in creating a thread All About Lorian, repeating the same tendentious nonsense about the Bible that even Walter Wink has rejected—is that no position is so intellectually indefensible that people won’t believe it if they want to believe it.  Lorian claims to have done her homework, yet every point she brings up has been discussed in detail and refuted over and over, and the refutations have not been countered in any rational way.  Never.  All this stuff is from the simpleminded cartoon site “religioustolerance.org”, where it’s been up, unchanged, for about a decade.

<a >Rocks</a>, right again…

[228] Posted by Craig Goodrich on 09-26-2007 at 11:40 PM • top

Bill, those “clobber” passages pertain, not to homosexuals behaving badly, but to heterosexuals behaving attrociously.  Idol-worship, temple prostitution, orgies in honor of pagan deities, exploitation of boy slaves, battlefield rape, rape of strangers, adulterous affairs with other men in one’s wife’s bed.

This has nothing to do with committed, monogamous, covenantal relationships between adult persons whose primary sexual and emotional orientation is toward members of their own gender. 

Yes, the Bible says that you, a (presumably) straight man or woman, should not cheat on your spouse by having a homosexual affair, visiting a homosexual prostitute, particularly if doing so involves worshipping in a pagan temple or participating in a pagan orgy, and should not commit sexual violence upon strangers, enemies or your slaves.  I can get behind restrictions such as those.  I would not support doing any of those things.

[229] Posted by Lorian on 09-26-2007 at 11:43 PM • top

Um, Craig?  What am I doing, besides answering the questions of other posters?  All about me?  I guess that must be because I’m the only lesbian openly posting at the moment?

In any case, you may disagree with my understanding of the Bible, but you have no more valid a claim on what it says than do I, based upon either a tradition of personal study and Spirit-led understanding, or one of rigorous scholarly study and exegesis.  I grant you your choice to believe as you do, but that does not automatically guarantee that you are correct, or that your beliefs should outweigh those of others who understand the same passages quite differently.

[230] Posted by Lorian on 09-26-2007 at 11:53 PM • top

The subject of this thread is the HOB Response to the Primates.

[231] Posted by Betty See on 09-27-2007 at 12:07 AM • top

Gillian, according to centuries of interpretation, the Bible supported the practice of slavery, the doctrine of a Geocentric universe, women being kept as chattel property, the beating of children with sticks, whips and belts, and a number of other things we now consider to be clearly wrong. 

I believe that we did reach, at last, a correct understanding of God’s will in these areas—that God was powerful enough to overcome our dependence upon traditional interpretations of scripture and inject some real truth into our understanding of the world.  Did it change scripture?  No.  Does that stop us from accepting the change in our beliefs?  No.  Do we adjust some of our understandings of what various scriptures are intended to represent to us?  Yes, we do.  Passages which were once understood to literally endorse the practice of slavery as God-ordained are now understood as God making concessions to a cultural practice in which people were routinely enslaved, and attempting to help humans engaging in this practice to treat their slaves more humanely.  Personally, I’m not convinced God ever condoned slavery even to that degree.  I suspect that Biblical instructions regarding how one is to treat, use and keep one’s slaves are more human constructs than Divinely-Inspired Truth.  I think Divinely-Inspired Truth might have been something more along the lines of, “Thou shalt not engage in the practice of human slavery.  It is abhorrent.”  But then, what do I know?  smile

[232] Posted by Lorian on 09-27-2007 at 12:15 AM • top

The subject of this thread is the HOB Response to the Primates.

Regarding…blessing of same-gender unions and related issues within the communion, right?

[233] Posted by Lorian on 09-27-2007 at 12:24 AM • top

Tinpipes, I guess if people stop asking me questions regarding my views, then my comments would remain one-time ripples in the unanimity of the thread.  As far as I can see, I have been having a theological/spiritual discussion with a number of posters.  If this were “all about Lorian,” I assure you I could come up with much more varied material than this. wink

[234] Posted by Lorian on 09-27-2007 at 12:27 AM • top

Lorian,

I did not ask for your views on the clobber passages. I mention them only to demonstrate that homosexuals and homosexual behavior is mentioned in the Bible.

The gay lobby in the Episcopal Church want same sex relationships elevated to the same level as heterosexual marriage, a major change from past practice. Where is the justification for this in the Bible? Please cite chapter and verse. If it is not there, just say so.

[235] Posted by BillS on 09-27-2007 at 05:21 AM • top

Discipline is a two way street.  If the thread or blog has a particular topic and somebody such as Lillian who appears to be unable to speak to the topic at hand for whatever reason, we should simply not reply except on topic.  Those who engage off topic are no less offenders, no less undisciplined (mea culpa!)  I would suggest that we should not be “offended” that Lillian has a different point of view but that she persists across every topic in off topic responses.  It is a profound spiritual problem apropos of much.  Such a persistence in off topic response and reply shows an unwillingness to discipline ourselves at minimum.  Frankly, I think she probably ought to be warned and then not allowed to post if she persists ...  not for having a different point of view but for repeatedly subverting every thread.  One need not mother every post to do this. 

I have often observed that the dynamism of “successful”  blog or list conversation seems to be that we would rather fight than switch. The almost addictive nature of list involvement seems to be driven by contention more than positive contribution, including reasoned argument.  But this need not be so.  Do we have ears to hear?

Apropos of this observation reflecting on the larger topic, I would make a further distinction.  I have recently attempted to distinguish on this site humiliation from humility which I believe is apropos.  Further, I would distinguish discipline from obedience.  Discipline can be helpfully understood as *self* discipline.  It is a good and necessary thing, especially for those living outside monasteries.  However, obedience is not self-referential and contains within it walking outside our own wills, which when given to God, is salvific.

The voice of God came to Samuel as a child and it was the “job” of Eli, as priest, to instruct the boy Samuel in how to listen to God’s word.  When the voice spoke again to Samuel, he responded as instructed.  This pertains to obedience.  It also addresses a positive aspect of priesthood.  It is apropos to this scenario both writ small in the blog topic and writ large in the context of faithfulness. Eli’s example also has negative examples that are apropos.  I won’t draw out all the implications here but I offer this as a gift as I have received it.

[236] Posted by Pernoctate on 09-27-2007 at 08:27 AM • top

Oops, that was Lorian, not Lillian.  Please forgive me.

[237] Posted by Pernoctate on 09-27-2007 at 08:29 AM • top

Pernoctate, since you have decided to engage in the attempts of other posters to make this thread “all about me,” I’ll simply respond by asking you how many threads, exactly, do you believe me to have “subverted,” assuming, for the sake of argument, that my discussions have been “off-topic” (which is difficult to see, since they have been discussions of gay Christians, same-gender blessings, Integrity, and related issues on threads pertaining to those very issues—but you are, of course, entitled to your opinion)?  One does begin to believe, with perhaps a hint of forgivable paranoia, that it is in fact one’s particular point of view, rather than the topic of one’s posts which acquires for one the label of “off-topic poster.”

[238] Posted by Lorian on 09-27-2007 at 10:43 AM • top

Bill, there are many aspects of modern life, and even of modern worship, which are not defined in specific terms within the pages of scripture.  Unless there is specific proscription, which there is not, in this case (hence the need to address your red-herring “clobber passages”), there is no need to point to a specific permission.

Scripture says a great deal about eating meat, but not much about vegetarianism.  Do I need to present scriptural justification for the omission of meat from my diet?  Dietary laws are pretty important in the Bible, even in New Testament times.  While Peter received a dream declaring all formerly unclean animals now “clean” for consumption, still Paul gives advice to his readers about avoiding meat that may have been offered to idols, not because it is unclean, but because consuming it might cause one’s brother to stumble. 

So food consumption IS both an Old and New Testament issue.  But we rarely worry about causing our brother to stumble by what we eat anymore, nor do we consider it wrong to be a vegetarian, even though Peter’s dream told him to go kill and eat the unclean animals. 

There are many things which are not specifically defined in scripture, but if they do not contradict Christian principles and are not prohibited by scripture (and here is, of course, where you and I disagree heartily), there is no reason for us to proscribe them

[239] Posted by Lorian on 09-27-2007 at 10:54 AM • top

Lorian, sorry again for messing up your name.  I am imagining that your posts on this site resemble the ones I’ve seen thus far.  It appears to me that you are engaging “as if on enemy turf” here but I expect you have other things to talk about elsewhere.  From my point of view, and I’m not anyone more important than anyone else including yourself, you seem to be rather singularly focused on justifying to others your own sexuality which you appear to have announced to be lesbian.  I do not condemn those who experience same-sex attraction although I think it may properly be understood in some cases as lust and thus indicate a disordered pesonality.  This hardly differentiates one from everyone else!  Who has not sinned?  I do not mean that as a justification.  That something is the case does not mean it is God’s will ... else evil, disease, thalidomide damaged fetuses and all harm also must be laid at God’s feet.  That makes our understanding of God into a terrible ogre not worthy of worship.  That isn’t God and it isn’t a helpful understanding.

I would hope I do not condemn those who engage in sin.  I would hope that I manage to distinguish between the sin and the sinner.  Engaging in sexual intimacy (I hate the “practicing” term) outside of marriage, as I understand the Church’s witness, is sinful.  I’m not concerned about rules for the sake of rules but that sin marks illness that alienates us from God and from ourselves and neighbors and leads to death.

If I do condemn the person rather than the sin, it is likely because my knowledge of my own sinfulness has no deep root in me.  Thus, I constantly forget it and am surprised or at least chastized by my own actions.  There is a world of difference between chastizement and condemnation.  But this becomes confessional and that is not my intention.  It is off topic.  The topic is not simply meta-discussions of the discussion.  So you see I’m just as bad as you, by my own terms.  smile

I find that we share little common theological language.  You appear to have different understandings about what Scripture means, what the Creeds mean and apropos of this discussion, what the response of the HoB means.  Your argument above simply confuses moral and ceremonial law and thus attacks a man of staw.

[240] Posted by Pernoctate on 09-28-2007 at 07:45 AM • top

Lorian, let me add that I consider you my sister.  I consider homosexuality a disorder and I think that is the Church’s teaching. I believe it is possible to believe this and still respect and love you. You may not accept that point but it is important to mutual understanding that you understand that I believe it is so and that I believe the Church tells us it is so.  I also believe that those who do not respect and love others throw away Christ’s authority to bear witness to the same.  I will never forget or cease to love my sister as long as I live ... but I will without a doubt from time to time fall short of God’s love. Without a doubt, I will get confused between the necessity of love which requires that I name sin as sin for the sake of *respecting* your dignity with judgmentalism.  Forgive me and pray for me if you will.  I will also hold you up to the Father in my heart that when God’s Kingdom comes, we may be made one in truth.

[241] Posted by Pernoctate on 09-28-2007 at 08:07 AM • top

man of staw?  strawman ... man of straw!  Lord have mercy on poor typists.  smile

[242] Posted by Pernoctate on 09-28-2007 at 08:15 AM • top

One more distinction:  in my usage not all disorder is “our own” sin although it might be the result of the ancestral curse which we all catch from human community.  Disorder is simply illness, whether of the body or of the spirit.  Thus, I understand same-sex attraction to be a disorder but not necessarily a sin.  Where it becomes a sin is where we express lust in our wills and/or outward actions toward another.  Lust is a narrowing of our vision of the other until that person is desired as a sexual object.  The Church teaches that Communion with God is exclusive.  When we engage in a communion of the flesh that is not “marriage” in the sacramental sense, we choose another communion and this is a kind of idolatry.  We are meant to see God in others and only then do we truly come to see the other person.  Until then, we are seeing only our own desires, our own selves ... and so lust is a form of narcissism.

This is a hard saying.  It will feel like we are being told that some basic things in ourselves that nurture us, that give us our sense of ourselves are damaged ... for that is what it is saying.  And it applies to every one of us.  Christianity is a fairly radical medicine and it perceives the ill it heals to be radical harm.  It asks us to give ourselves to God to be made new but we are returned to ourselves made whole and the good that we believed lost is discovered anew transformed.  Perhaps we would not have begun the journey if we understood the cost but we cannot truly grasp the reward short of receiving it.  And we have a requirement put upon us:

“Anyone, then, who knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, commits sin.”  James 4:17

[243] Posted by Pernoctate on 09-28-2007 at 08:49 AM • top

Pern:  So you are saying that if the Church expanded its concept of marriage to include same-gender couples, we would be expanding our Communion with God?

[244] Posted by Charlie on 09-28-2007 at 10:31 AM • top

Man of staw… :giggle:

Pernoctate, thanks for your thoughtful posts.  I agree with a good deal of what you say, though with some obvious exceptions.  Certainly lust—as you say, the narrowing of one’s focus until one views a fellow human being as merely a sexual object—is disordered, and, in other terms, sinful.  Where we part ways is the fact that those of us who are oriented towards our own gender are not, by definition, lustful.  I realize you have allowed for this fact to a certain extent within your argument, but there is a distinct difference in our beliefs about where the line is drawn between love and lust.  You consider any sexual act outside of sacramental marriage to be lustful—sinful, in other words.  I agree with you…except that I recognize the fact that “sacramental marriage” is a great deal more encompassing than you accept it to be. 

In your view, first and foremost, the sacrament of marriage is only available to couples which consist of one male and one female.  Secondly (and here I am making some assumptions, so pardon me if I go astray), you believe that this sacrament must be conferred with the involvement of a religious authority/organization.

I, on the other hand, know my relationship with my partner to be of a sacramental nature which qualifies it as a marriage every bit as validly as any heterosexual couple’s.  For the second part, I know that the sacrament of marriage is not conferred as a result of, or solely through the actions of a religious ceremony authorized by a religious authority/congregation/denomination.  The sacrament of marriage takes place when two people decide that their lives are to become one and make that vow or commitment to one another.  Traditionally, it is sealed by the act of sex, though I believe that it is the vow of lifetime commitment which is of far more import, being a vow which the couple takes before God as a spiritual joining of the two.

Thus, if a couple vows in a church to commit their lives to one another and receives the blessing of the archbishop in full regalia in the sight of a thousand onlookers, I consider them to be sacramentally married.  And, by the same token, if a couple stands in a field (or in their livingroom, for that matter), and agree with one another to commit their lives to one another before God, to remain faithful and loving to one another forever, I consider them to be sacramentally married.  According to theologians, in the sacrament of marriage, it is the couple who are the ministers, not the priest.  The priest does not marry them.  They marry eachother.

So, my relationship with my partner, just as an example, is not lustful (far from it, if you’ve ever known a couple in the process of raising twins… :yawn:  wink ).  It is sacramental.  It is vowed in the sight of God and our loved ones.  We are as much married as any heterosexual couple who took their vows in church under the supervision of a priest.

So you see, I am not “confusing moral and ceremonial law.”  Rather, I am stating that moral law is as it has always been.  Ceremonial law, on the other hand, has yet to fully understand and conform itself to moral law.  This is the change which we seek.  Not because we cannot be married in the eyes of God as things stand, but simply because it is helpful to any married couple to have the celebration, love and support of their community as they venture into this holy, sacramental, life-giving and life-changing state.

[245] Posted by Lorian on 09-28-2007 at 11:40 AM • top

Charlie, you ask:  “So you are saying that if the Church expanded its concept of marriage to include same-gender couples, we would be expanding our Communion with God?”

No, I’m saying that marriage, when understood in terms of the Church’s sacrament, is not simply a conceptual understanding but a description of something that has been given to us from God.  We can’t baptize the world by saying words over public swimming pools or public water works any more than we can communicate cities by blessing bread as it rolls out of bakeries.  The Church is not competent to “expand the definition” of marriage.

[246] Posted by Pernoctate on 09-28-2007 at 02:41 PM • top

I have asked this before and I wil ask it again and hopefully get a good answer.
Pernoctate or any others,
How would blessing a same sex couple (marriage) be viewed in the biblical context of Chirst being the bridegroom and the Chuch being the bride? I mean in order to be the Bride don’t we (the Church) need to be made holy and pure? How would having same sex marriages/blessings/unions be making us holy and pure when this type of union is considered by God to be an abomination?

[247] Posted by TLDillon on 09-28-2007 at 02:53 PM • top

Lorien, I’m in a rush and cannot give proper time to you right now.  I understand how you feel about your relationship with your signficant other.  The trick here is not simply to achieve clarity regarding our own beliefs but listening to what the Church is telling us.  I’m not certain we can do our own thing without compromising ourselves because we are made by God for God…and not for ourselves.  It is my business to attempt to discern (at least for myself) where the Church is ... and not my business to discern where it is not.  I’m not saying you are outside the Church ... I’m attempting to speak to what I’ve received in terms of where the Church is.  The Tradition, as I have received it, means something different by marriage than what I think I hear you saying…but I would need to take more time.  Anyway, I’m not the final sifter here!

In the Christian East, it is understood as a sacrament in the full sense, through which God acts upon a couple to make them one.  In other words, they don’t “marry one another” and then get blessed for their troubles as is the theology I commonly hear in Protestantism and Roman Catholicism.  (OK, I put a humorous spin on that!) It might even be fair to describe it as an ordained order of ministry for certainly the laity is such by Baptism.  Marriage is referred to as a form of martyrdom and the couple is crowned during the liturgy.

For what it’s worth, the church’s understanding of the sacrament of marriage definitely evolved. I believe it was Ignatius of Antioch who first was urging Christian couples to seek the blessing of their bishop.  Marriage or at least betrothal was probably sealed by “biblically knowing” one’s spouse.  But of course Jesus and St. Paul speak to the matter.  And you can be sure that the sacrament of Eucharist was no less the Body and Blood of Christ before anyone called it “sacrament” ... but the Church’s understanding and authorization of what has been received as sacraments deepened.  I would not say that it altered into something else and that is the key.  The Holy Spirit may act apart from the sacraments and even outside the Church ... but let us not imagine that God *only* acts *apart* from the Church!  The sacraments speak to what the Church knows.  Sacraments, by definition,  have particular form.  We use bread and wine for Eucharist.  We use man and woman for marriage.  Two people may be one flesh by virtue of having the same parents, for example.  That doesn’t define a marriage in the Christian understanding.  Of course, throughout, I’m attempting to speak to an understanding of the Church as the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Body of Christ, that organic fellowship in which the apostles and all Christian peoples of all times live, move and have our being.

My reply concerning ceremonial versus moral law pertains to the earlier post regarding comparison of homosexuality with eating of bats, eagles, and wearing of cotton/polymer blends, etc.  Well, those are my favorite examples anyway.  In New Guinea, I’m told, people knock down bats with sticks, skin them and sell them for food in the marketplace.  Ick.  Anyway, gotta run as I just took WAY more time than I had and still never really got to your post.

[248] Posted by Pernoctate on 09-28-2007 at 03:22 PM • top

One Day Closer:

Acts may or may not be abominations.  People are not.  People are God’s children for whom Christ became Incarnate and died.  One way same-sex attraction and partnership can be blessed is by the gift of celibacy.  That doesn’t make it “marriage” but it might make it an equally holy calling:  monasticism. Monasticism has varied forms but the chief thing is obedience and walking out of our own wills according to God’s love.  Living as married by the Church, while not honoring one’s wife or serving one’s husband may be a greater abomination for that which appears most closely to be holy and yet is not may be a far more wicked thing. 

So also, as St. Paul warns us, if we participate in the Gifts without discerning the Body, we eat and drink judgment upon ourselves.  This recalls the words to mind from the Lord’s Prayer: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”  If the path of salvation is steep for those who have same-sex attraction so also is it steep for those who do not - for our Lord has distinguished love of neighbor as the measure of our love of God. See Matthew 22:38-39.

[249] Posted by Pernoctate on 09-28-2007 at 03:43 PM • top

Despite days of patience and Lorian generating a substantial volume of words, she never responded to my request that she share her Christian witness/salvation story. I can only assume that she doesn’t yet have one.  I hope someday she does.

[250] Posted by no longer NH Episcopalian on 09-29-2007 at 05:13 PM • top

NH Episcopalian,

I was not aware that I needed to provide my “Christian Bona Fides” or “give my testimony” in order to have something worthwhile to contribute to this discussion.  Your repeated requests sound a ill-tempered, if you’ll pardon my saying so.

If you are truly interested, however, here’s a brief summary:

I was raised in the Assembly of God and Four Square churches from birth.  When I left home for college, I went to the college run by the Evangelical Covenant Church (formerly Swedish Covenant).  It was there that I was first exposed to exegesis and critical thinking with regards to scripture, in my required religion courses.  In my pre-med curriculum, I studied phylogenetic theory and was confronted with the indisputable reality of, at the very least, micro-evolution. 

Despite my fundamentalist upbringing, I’d been drawn towards the religious life since about age 12, and when I went off to college, after searching for some time for a fundamentalist church in which I would feel “at home,” I instead began singing in a schola cantorum for a local Roman Catholic church.  The choir director was a member of Church of the Ascension (Chicago—high-church Episcopal).  He invited me to visit.  I loved the church, and immediately made friends with a young nun in the Anglican convent next door.  Less than a year later, I was confirmed in the Episcopal Church, having studied hard in an adult enquirer’s class, made numerous visits and retreats at the convent, engaged in spiritual direction with the rector of the parish, and ultimately, resolved my fundamentalist conflicts with catholic doctrine. 

After my junior year in college, I dropped out to enter the convent.  I stayed in the convent less than a year, for a variety of reasons, including my own unreadiness to commit to the life, and the particular dysfunctions of the small community I entered.  I returned to college and finished my degree in music performance, rather than pre-med. 

I had begun experiencing same-gender attractions in junior high, and more strongly in high school, but I did not identify them as such until I reached college and actually fell in love for the first time.  I fought and struggled against these feelings, never admitting them to anyone until shortly before I entered the convent, at which time I “came out” to my nun-friend (who had by this time transferred to another house of the same order near Boston).  Her continued acceptance and love for me, her refusal to reject me in spite of my greatest fears, was a balm to my soul. 

After leaving the convent and returning to college, I continued to be attracted to women, and my self-loathing grew to be intolerable.  I did not have any sexual relationships, nor did I come out to anyone at the college, but due to the intensity of my feelings for the person to whom I was attracted (there were about four girls I “fell for” during my five years in college), I was not able to even maintain a friendship with them.  I never told them how I felt or asked them for anything but friendship, but at some level they felt it, and, being straight, certainly did not reciprocate.  This led to their rejection of even the most basic friendship, and a deepening sense on my part of being horrible and unlovable. 

This period of my life was intensely painful.  I sought to deny who I was, and to change who I was.  I felt suicidal, and engaged in self-mutilation to relieve the emotional pain. 

I began receiving therapy from a pastoral therapist at the college, and later, at the Episcopal Diocese’s community outreach center.  I continued to see my spiritual director, and I discussed my attractions to women with him.  He did not believe that my being attracted to other women, or even being a lesbian in relationship (though I was not yet identifying as such) was incompatible with my Christian faith. 

I did a great deal of reading and study during this time, on both sides of the issue.  I continued my friendship with my convent friend by way of 30-page letters.  She was by this time in the process of becoming a spiritual director, herself, and was of immense help to me in overcoming my self-hatred, my fear, my inability to understand and accept who I was.

After graduating from college, I finally began to “come out” more officially.  I told a few of my friends from college, and was rather resoundingly rejected.  They wanted no more to do with me.  However, I began to be involved with the lesbian community in Chicago, joining a women’s chorus, and attending concerts at the women’s coffeehouse. 

Finding acceptance and love and friendship with people who shared my life experiences and feelings helped me to find peace and healing.  I came to terms with my sexual orientation and came to understand that God had created me as the lesbian that I am and wanted me to live my life fully, richly and responsibly, within the context of my God-given sexuality. 

I met the woman who would become my partner several years later, after moving to California.  I certainly made some mistakes along the way, and matured through a period of “quasi-adolescence,” having never experienced the “puppy love” and dating that most people go through in high school and college.  My partner and I fell in love at first sight, and have been together for the past 16.5 years.

We have been members of the Episcopal Church for most of that time, though we each had gone through a period of exploration in our mid-twenties.  She, like me, was raised in a fundamentalist church, and had thought that God rejected her, no longer loved her, and had played a very cruel joke with her life from the point when she came out at about age 19.  She eventually realized it was not God who had rejected her, but her church.  When she discovered the Episcopal Church and found out that there were Christians who did not reject her, and who recognized her value and validity in God’s eyes, it was a revelation to her.

We both love God, and seek to deepen our spiritual contact with God on an ongoing basis.  She discovered Merton and mysticism (much as I had back in my early twenties), and found new dimensions in her spiritual life.  We strive for awareness of God in our lives, for consciousness of God’s presence.  We try not to reject the experiences and beliefs of others out-of-hand, believing that God is quite capable of speaking to each person’s heart within the context of their own lives and experiences.

My fundamentalist upbringing traumatized me in many ways, not simply because of my sexual orientation, but reaching back into my childhood with messages of fear and terror, pictures of a hateful God, watching over us for any mistakes, to punish us and reject us.  I lived in constant terror of “being left behind,” despite having been “saved” from the age of four, baptized at age 10, and “filled with the Holy Spirit, evidenced by speaking in tongues” by age 12 or so, praying and reading the Bible cover-to-cover, continually begging forgiveness for sins I didn’t even know I’d committed, trying to witness to my peers, rejecting anything I perceived as “sinful” and setting myself apart in an attempt to stay holy at all times.  My relationship with God was more one of fear than love.  I thought I loved God, but it’s really hard to love someone you’ve been taught to view with terror since early childhood. 

It took a long time for me to understand that the God of my childhood was a gross distortion of who God really is.  I’m so grateful for that understanding and for the peacefulness of relationship with a Divine Being who truly loves and accepts me as a child of God.

[251] Posted by Lorian on 09-29-2007 at 11:32 PM • top

And before anyone chastises me for “derailing the thread” or “using too much bandwidth,” please review NH Episcopalian’s repeated demands for my “testimony.”

[252] Posted by Lorian on 09-29-2007 at 11:33 PM • top

Lorien, thank you for your sharing.  I cannot helpfully “pass judgment” for good or ill on your story or on your self and I would expect you not to expect me to do this.  We have different theology but of course there is one God and both of us are His children.  Just as your partner was wrong in concluding that God was “playing a cruel joke” it may be that you are wrong in concluding the opposite ... that God has given you a sexual orientation.  Not all that is the case is something that comes from God.  I’ll spare you the usual, odious comparisons. 

From where I stand, your early childhood religious experience leads me to suspect that your religious preparation was actively abusive although you put it in the positive.  But I may simply not “get” the American fundamentalist and/or Pentecostal religious experience.  It is courageous of you to share this history but despite being egged on to do so by someone who by my lights simply does so to condemn you this isn’t the place for it.  I cannot take the anecdote and derive the conclusions you have reached.  Nevertheless, I do thank you for offering this of yourself and making yourself that much more human to us.  May there come a day when we all call one another by our true names. 

As an aside, I have several friends who experienced dysfunctional religious communities (not to mention dysfunctional parishes!) after escaping dysfunctional families.  Seems more the norm than not.  It is tempting to speculate on how nice and peaceful “church” would be without the people but our Lord will continue to love us that our hearts of stone might melt and that we might be given hearts of flesh.  May we do likewise.  The awareness of my need of God has no deep root in me for I can little bear that ascetic work as I have no real gift of humility ... but I can give thanks to God and that balances me when the burden of myself seems unbearable.

[253] Posted by Pernoctate on 09-30-2007 at 08:11 PM • top

Note:  I am constitutionally incapable of staying on topic myself.  In an attempt to be fashionable and up-to-date, I really must diagnose myself as A.D.D.  smile

[254] Posted by Pernoctate on 09-30-2007 at 08:33 PM • top

Pernoctate, thank you for your, as usual, thoughtful and considerate response to my comments.  I agree that we are unlikely to come to agreement about the source of my sexual orientation.  I would have to say with Jesus, though, that we know the tree by the fruit it bears. 

By the way, if it sounded like I was painting my fundamentalist upbringing as anything BUT outright abusive, please pardon my miscommunication.  Abusive is the only word for the type of “Christian” upbringing to which I was subjected.

Thanks again for your thoughts.

[255] Posted by Lorian on 09-30-2007 at 09:04 PM • top

Lorian,  I just noticed I misspelled your name, AGAIN!  My biological sister’s name is Laurin and somehow the comparison does dyslexic things to my brain.

I should add that within my understanding of “providence”, God’s humility is able to so operate with respect to our free will that He might use our weaknesses to bring us to perfection - but He will prune our sinfulness.  It is unwise to act as if one’s own physician and I am not suggesting via a few passing off-topic Emails that I think you should cease to love your partner or do violence to yourself as Origen did in his self-loathing.  The biblical talk about taking the Kingdom by violence can never be understood to support any suicidal expression.  You know from what spirit self mutilation comes.  It is important for those, and I do not know if you are among them, who experience profound depression, to anticipate and seek adjustment of meds in advance before doing oneself harm.  May God grant you true discernment and faithful priests.

Perhaps I was unfair to “desperate NH Episcopalian” in stating I thought he/she was seeking to condemn you for failing to provide a testimonial but as I’ve said, I don’t fully understand the evangelical tradition in which that is expected.  To me, it speaks to the invasive challenge, “Have you been born again?” which translates usually to a narrow interpretation of enthusiasm based on a particularly individualistic formulation of conversion experience.  I’ve had conversion experiences but I understand them as epiphanies of and deepening of understanding of the Baptism of Christ into which I was baptized and sealed.  In other words, I understand my faith experience in reference to the Sacrament ... ultimately to the Ur-Sacrament Himself, Jesus Christ.  It may make more sense to you if I say that my own walk of faith is within Eastern Orthodoxy.  If my Russian and Syrian and Greek (Etc.) brothers and sisters seem ethnic, no less ethnic and eccentric now seem my Anglican friends to me.  I feel the need to close my comments in this thread but I wish you God’s enduring gifts of peace and joy.

[256] Posted by Pernoctate on 09-30-2007 at 10:14 PM • top

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