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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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There have been a number of occasions over the years in TEC like this where a key document or statement has come out, and the response has been, shall we say, less than satisfactory. Therefore there needs to be some preparation on our part so as to try to react in a Christian manner. Herewith some suggestions:
(1) Please try to read the actual text of the resolution itself and concentrate on the language used. I am sorry if this seems obvious but my Mom was an English teacher--you would be amazed at how little it actually occurs. Who are the worst people to do a Bible study with? Seminarians. Why? Because they have the most deep seated ideas of what the text says before they read it. It is vital that the text be heard on its own terms.
(2) Try to draw conclusions yourself FROM THE TEXT before getting your head clouded with what others think. Be aware that some of the early reactions will be wrong.
(3) When you consider others reactions, read from a variety of sources. You should regularly be visiting reappraiser and reasserter sites, writers you agree with and authors who drive you crazy.
(4) Make your early evaluations tentatively. "It seems to be saying that," "what I hear the statement saying is," are the kinds of things I would prefer to hear.
(5) Be aware that every statement like this goes through a process of sifting. Give it at least three days. There is an earthquake, there are aftershocks, and then things settle down.
(6) Expect the discernment to be a corporate activity. We still seek to be part of the Church of Jesus Christ, and we need one another. We are. as Ephesians says (4:15), to speak the truth in love. May the way we respond demonstrate this--KSH.
By the way--anyone recognize most of the language here? It is from something I wrote in 2007. Nick Knisely wrote [now Bishop-elect of Rhode Island] at the time that he found himself "pretty much full agreement with [my]suggestions"
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Commentary Episcopal Church (TEC) General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012 TEC Bishops TEC House of Deputies TEC Polity & Canons Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * By Kendall * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Media Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
(The above is my title, you can see his by going to the link below--KSH)
The Christian churches in the United States are in trouble for all the usual reasons — human sinfulness and selfishness, the temptations of life in an affluent society, doctrinal and moral controversies and uncertainties and on and on and on — but also and to a surprisingly large degree they are in trouble because they are trying to address the problems of the twenty first century with a business model and a set of tools that date from the middle of the twentieth. The mainline churches in particular are organized like General Motors was organized in the 1950s: they have cost structures and operating procedures that simply don’t work today. They are organized around what I’ve been calling the blue social model, built by rules that don’t work anymore, and oriented to a set of ideas that are well past their sell-by date.
Without even questioning it, most churchgoers assume that a successful church has its own building and a full-time staff including one or more professionally trained leaders (ordained or not depending on the denomination). Perhaps no more than half of all congregations across the country can afford this at all; most manage only by neglecting maintenance on their buildings or otherwise by cutting corners. And even when they manage to make the payroll and keep the roof in repair, congregations spend most of their energy just keeping the show going from year to year. The life of the community centers around the attempt to maintain a model of congregational life that doesn’t work, can’t work, won’t work no matter how hard they try. People who don’t like futile tasks have a tendency to wander off and do other things and little by little the life and vitality (and the rising generations) drift away.
At the next level up, there is another level of ecclesiastical bureaucrats and officials staffing regional offices. When my dad was a young priest in the Episcopal diocese of North Carolina back in the late 1950s the bishop had a secretary and that was pretty much it for diocesan staff. These days the Episcopal church is in decline, with perhaps a third to a half or more of its parishes unable to meet their basic expenses and with members dying off or drifting away much faster than new people come through the door — but no respectable bishop would be caught dead with the pathetic staff with which Bishop Baker ran a healthy and growing diocese in North Carolina back in the 1950s. (Bishop Baker was impressive in another way; he could tie his handkerchief into the shape of a bunny rabbit, put it flat on the palm of his hand, and have it hop off. I was only six when he showed me this trick, but it was clear to me that this man had something special to offer. Since that time I’ve traveled all over the world and met bishops, archbishops, cardinals and even a pope — but none of them made quite the impression on me that Bishop Baker and his jumping handkerchief did.)
Bishops today in their sinking, decaying dioceses surround themselves with large staffs who hold frequent meetings and no doubt accomplish many wonderful things, although nobody outside the office ever quite knows what these are. And it isn’t just Anglicans. Lutherans, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, UCC, the whole crowd has pretty much the same story to tell. Staffs grow; procedures flourish and become ever more complex; more and more years of school are required from an increasingly ‘professional’ church staff: everything gets better and better every year — except somehow the churches keep shrinking. Inside, the professionals are pretty busy jumping through hoops and writing memos to each other and grand sweeping statements of support for raising the minimum wage and other noble causes — but outside the regional headquarters and away from the hum of the computers and printers, local congregations lose members, watch their buildings fall year by year into greater disrepair, and in the end they close their doors.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) General Convention House of Deputies President Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori TEC Bishops TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils TEC House of Deputies TEC Parishes TEC Polity & Canons * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Lutheran Methodist Presbyterian United Church of Christ * Theology Seminary / Theological Education
Having had a night to ponder and pray on it, this is my read of the attempt of D025. I think the reference in the floor debate to the "craft" of the resolution by the committee was revealing.
Whatever happened to principled theological liberalism [and blog readers know I do not like nor do I use this term]? If the House of Deputies leadership believes B033 should be repealed (and everyone knows that is the case), they should have the courage to repeal it.
They should also have the honesty to say what they are doing in unmistakably clear terms. The more frayed relationships get, and the more trust is in tatters, the more careful attention to precise communication matters.
It is going to pass, the only question is by how much--so it seems.
To me this section of the debate was important:
Holt from Central Florida: It appears that the answer to my question is neither yes nor no -- that it is open to interpretation. Some will say B033 is ended and some not. There are two audiences that will need to interpret this resolution -- our Standing Committees and bishops, as well as our Anglican partners. Both need clarity.
As was this:
Johnson of Minnesota: I stood before you three years ago intending to speak against B033, and found myself asking to give it to our PB as a gift. I ask now to give D025 as gift reflecting our messiness to the Anglican Communion but as authentic statement about who we are. Sometimes gifts aren't appreciated when they are received. Sometimes later, you appreciate the gift. Sometimes never. This does not repeal B033. It states where we are now, clearly. We will do our discernment processes in accordance with our C&Cs, and Standing Committeees, discerning whether . . . I ask to please give ourselves as a gift to the Anglican Communion.
A now a vote by orders requested Central Florida Albany and South Carolina
Jim Naughton is liveblogging it. I have no video feed available which is bizarre.
Sarah Hey is liveblogging it here.
Back in 2003, the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York consecrated a gay bishop and allowed others to perform same-sex blessings.
The Church of the Good Shepherd in Binghamton, an Episcopal parish at the time, disagreed with this move and severed ties. Last year, the Diocese sued for Good Shepherd to leave the church building on Conklin Avenue, and in December, a state Supreme Court judge ruled in their favor.
On Friday, both sides were back in court.
"We've kind of moved on as a congregation and this is almost looking backwards now. So we were dreading it but here it is," said Father Matthew Kennedy, Good Shepherd's head pastor.
This time, the feud centers around a will by former Good Shepherd member Robert Brannan. He died in 1986 and left behind money in a trust fund for his parish.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: Central New York TEC Conflicts: Central Florida TEC Conflicts: Colorado TEC Conflicts: Connecticut TEC Conflicts: Florida TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth TEC Conflicts: Georgia TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles TEC Conflicts: Ohio TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh TEC Conflicts: Rio Grande TEC Conflicts: San Diego TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin TEC Conflicts: Virginia TEC Departing Parishes TEC Data TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils TEC House of Deputies
Read it all. What I remember most about Sara is how attentive she was to her child. It was a wonderful witness--KSH.
1. Do you think an Anglican Covenant is necessary and/or will help to strengthen the interdependent life of the Anglican Communion? Why or why not?
It would be helpful at this point in time for the Anglican Communion to make up its mind whether the needs of the world and the mission of the church in response to those needs will be better served by a more strictly and centrally regulated structure, or by a more open model deployed for ministry. We favor the latter as more in keeping with Christ’s commission to the church, which is focused not on itself and its structures but on the proclamation of the saving message to a wounded world. It appears that the more we attempt to secure our inner agreements the more we focus on the things that divide us. The Anglican Communion has been known until recently as a body governed not by statute but by bonds of affection, and a Covenant, if needed, should, unlike the present proposal, focus on the affection rather than the bondage. Such a Covenant would be tolerant of diversity and encourage bilateral cooperation in meeting local and global needs through partnerships rather than promoting more complex and rigid structures, as the present proposal seems to advise.
Read it all.
House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson also issued a short statement saying that "the Episcopal Church elects bishops and consents to the election of bishops in a democratic and participatory manner. The process is carried out within our Constitution and Canons, both at the General Convention and in our dioceses. The Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson is a duly elected and consecrated bishop of this Church. Not inviting him to the Lambeth Conference causes serious concern to The Episcopal Church."
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