Tuesday, July 14, 2009

there's a new world a'comin'....

OK, I have to repent my last blog's lack of faith in the house of bishops. I got Jerry Caroon, our alternate, to sit in for me this afternoon so I could go to the Hof B and Listen to their conversation about D025 which I gave you in the last post and lamented how the bishops wouldn't pass it.

They did!!! 99-44 with two minor and insignificant amendments. The amendments means the resolution has to come back to the hofd, but, in my mind they don't matter and we should approve the amended version in a heartbeat.

The 'debate' they had for over an hour was remarkable for how cordial and moving it was. The highlight for me was after several bishops had spoken in opposition to the resolution, pointing out how it would so, so offend the Anglican Communion, Bishop Prince Singe of Rochester (I swear that's his name) got up and said something like this: I AM the Anglican Communion. I grew up in India and the Anglican Church in India was the only church who ministered to the 'untouchable' caste. They did so, starting churches and schools in the 'untouchable' castes villages knowing they would lose the upper castes who would not come to those churches and to those schools. 80% of the Anglicans in India are 'untouchables'. It is time the EC realized our ministry is to the 'untouchables' in our culture.

He had me from the first mention of 'untouchables'. Right now I have never felt so committed and connected and involved in our church as I am right now. All three of our bishops voted 'yes' and so did Bp. Ramos, formally one of our bishops who is now in Ecuador. I haven't yet fully appreciated what has happened and I am moved to tears when I try to imagine it. D025 has made true what is so.

One of the bishops in opposition to the resolution read a quote from the Archbishop of Canterbury, who told us in his sermon last week to 'tell the truth'. He lamented the action of the HofD and said the HofB had the opportunity to 'block' that action. Some bishops I talked with were, to put it mildly, pissed off that the ABCanterbury would 'dis our church in such a remarkably inappropriate way.

We may 'walk separately' for a season with some of our brothers and sisters in the AC. There will be a cost to what the AC does in reaction to D025. But, for the first time in my life as an Episcopalian, we have told the TRUTH about who we are. Such truth telling allows us to enter into dialog with the rest of the AC with nothing hidden.

I also realize that there are some in the EC that will be offended and pained by this resolution. I would direct them to the last 'resolve':

"Resolved, that the 76th GC acknowlege that members of the EC as of the AC, bases on careful study of the Holy Scriptures and in light of tradition and reason, are not of one mind, and Christians of good conscience disagree about some of these matters."

That is my understanding of Anglicanism. We need not agree on matters of the interpretation of Scripture or Doctrine so long as we are willing--in our disagreements--to worship as on Body.

After today I have to reassess and ponder my opinions of the House of
Bishops. A learning and transforming exercise to undertake. And, under the castor oil tree with Jonah, 'pondering is what I do...."

Talk with you tomorrow--day 7....Unlike the Creation story, the work is not done and we cannot say "it is good"....Love you all. JIM

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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.