Sunday, July 12, 2009

D025 passes house of deputies

Perhaps more important than the passage of D025 to St. John's was the passage of a resolution on Hispanic/Latino ministry. The work that went into preparing a report on H/L ministry was superb. Pending what Program and Budget Committee has to do, $3.5 million was approved for work in the H/L community. I've talked to several people who work on the national level and they have heard of what we're doing at St. John's!!! Kudos to Armando Gonzalez and Mike Carroll. People know about your minisry at GC. Two people even said, "That's where Fr. Armando is," when I told them I was St. John's. Amazing--what a gift that ministry is to St. John's and the larger church.

I wrote earlier today about D025. It passed overwhelmingly. The vote--by orders--(after several attempts to change or weaken the resolution failed)was 77 yes, 22 no and 9 divided in the Lay Order and 74 yes, 20 no and 13 divided in the clerical order.

I probably explained 'voting by orders' in an earlier post, but a quick review is in order. In a vote by orders each diocese has 2 votes--one for the clergy and one for the laity. Since there are normally 4 lay and 4 clergy deputies in each diocese, the vote must be 4-0 or 3-1 to be either a yes or no. If the deputies in the lay or clergy order vote 2-2 it is recorded as 'divided' but counts as a 'no' vote...or 'not a yes' vote. CT, for example, had a 4-0 vote of the lay members and a 3-1 vote of the clergy members for yes. So Ct's 2 votes were both 'yes'. Confused yet?

At any rate it was over 70% 'yes'. That, it seems to me, can be considered a mandate. B033 was not explicitly overturned, but the obvious implication is that the 'urging' not to consecrate gay/lesbian nominees is made moot.

Now it goes to the bishops. The fear among progressives in the HofD is that the bishops might remove the 5th resolve and cause a standoff between the bishops and the deputies. Nobody I've talked to will dare 'give odds' on what might happen with the bishops. So the GC is holding it's breath until they act.

If I might express my opinion (something I obviously don't do much!!!) I would say the Bishops, as they deal with D025, hold not only the future of the Episcopal Church in their hands but the future of the Anglican Communion as well. But NOT in the way they might imagine. D025--go read it in the last blog--expresses a genuine desire to remain fully a part of the Anglican Communion AND to be true to the reality of the life of this particular and peculiar church. We are the only member of the AC who governs itself in a completely and transparently 'democratic' way. Most of the Primates of the AC, unlike our Presiding Bishop, have almost papal like power within their church. Whatever the Archbishop says, the church does. Someone today, in debate, said 22 of the other 38 churches in the AC are now, even with B033, in 'damaged communion' with the EC. I turned to Ellen Tillotson and said, "only 16 to go!" In a humorous and ironic way, I mean that. We have been duplicitous with the AC for years now--claiming we want to agree with them when absolutely everyone in the EC and the AC knows to what great extent we are already including gay/lesbian folks in our life and leadership. It is simply time to stop posing and tell the truth. This church is ready for the 'local option' about same sex blessings and election of bishops. We had 'local option' on women priests and bishops for two decades--no diocese HAD to accept it, but most would gladly. I pray the Hof B will relent their attempts at appeasement and coercion and 'speak the truth in love' to the rest of the AC. This is how we make decisions and this is who we are. We will not leave you but if you cannot walk with us, given our realities, then perhaps we must walk separately for a while.

The EC cannot be a strong and mission-driven church until we are honest about who we are. Our bishops were elected to LEAD. Instead, to much of the time, they hold back and give disinformation to the rest of the communion. Either we are a church where there are no outcasts, as PB Browning said at the last GC in Anaheim OR we are a church that betrays it's own members to the prejudices and often outright hatred of those far away. The best witness we can give to the AC is to be unashamedly and boldly "who we are" and call the AC to deal with us on that level.

Shame on the bishops if they emasculate or defeat D025. They have no reason to worry about my judgment. I only pray they fret and ponder the judgement of God--a God who includes all, with nobody left out.

The bishops are under the castor oil tree with Jonah. God chose to save Nineveh, to include those outcasts in the Kingdom. Our bishops can ponder where we are and who we are and claim our identity as followers of a God who includes all....Or they can hide behind demands on us from those who do not live under our constitution and canons and pretend to be a church willing to 'exclude' in order to be part of the flock.

(Last week was the 30th anniversary of the debute of Spike Lee's remarkable film "Do the Right Thing". How fast time flies...about the same time as Bp Browning's declaration of 'no outcasts' in this church.)

(a young lion was separated from his mother and raised by mountain goats. he became, as best he could, a mountain goat. he ate grass--though it tasted vile--and learned to say 'baa' and to run from any danger. one day, the goats were feeding on a mountain side and heard a dangerous and raucous noise from the valley below. The young lion bleeted and started to run, but something in that sound spoke to his heart. So, in fear and trembling, he crept to the edge of the hill and over it. There, by the side of a stream was a full grown lion, feeding on a his kill. He looked up and saw the young mountain-goat-lion. The mountain-goat-lion said "BAA" and ate a mouthful of grass.

"What are you doing?" the full grown lion asked him. "what was that strange noise and why are you eating grass? doesn't it taste vile?"

"Come over here," the lion said, "look in the stream with me." The cub who was a mountain lion went, though it took all his courage. In the mirror of the water he saw himself for the first time and saw the lion as well.

"I'm just like you!" the cub said. Then he took a bite of the lion's kill and roared his first roar.

"Never forget," the older lion said, "who you are and whose your are..."

For too long our bishops have been mountain goats when, in fact, they are lions. I pray that as they deliberate on D025, they will remember 'who they are and whose they are" and 'do the right thing'....

All is well and all is well and all manner of things will be well....

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.