Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Negativity will get us nowhere

I shouldn't be surprised. The LGBT in the Episcopal Church think that the world has somehow ended by the less than concrete resolution B-033. They also think that +Katharine Jefferts Schori is the enemy all of a sudden. Wrong.

Let's look at this a piece at a time. What exactly is the wording of B-033:

Resolution B003, "On the Election of Bishops"

Resolved, [the House of Deputies concurring,] that the 75th General Convention receive and embrace the Windsor Report's invitation to engage in a process of healing and reconciliation; and be it further

Resolved, that this Convention therefore call upon Standing Committees and bishops with jurisdiction 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.


Ok. There it is. And somewhere else it further states that the duration is for three years but that there is actually no time constraint set for the compliance of this resolution.

So it asks that restraint be exercised. What exactly does that mean?

The word itself is derived from "restrain" which in itself means: to hold back from action, check; suppress; curb; to keep under control; to limit.
Restraint: a loss or limitation of liberty; control of emotions, impulses; show reserve.

Given the immediate definition, I take it to mean that we should limit but not completely stop nominating clergy to become bishops with alleged iffy manners of life, which in reality applies to everyone because there is always some iffy thing in our lives, intended or not. Why? Because we are human. Period.

They aren't talking just about LGBT people, they are talking about women as well, because we have always been a challenge to the communion and we still are. We were bold enough to tell them where to put their challenge too, when we elected +Katharine as our next PB.

Every one on the planet has "a manner of life that presents a challenge" because what the challenge is, is left wide open. In other words they can name anything and call it a challenge. They may decide that wheelchairs present a challenge and stop people in wheelchairs from fully partaking of the blessings promised in our Baptismal Covenant. You get the picture. But they do not control us. The Anglican Communion's colonial attitude needs a big change and we apparently are the instrument of that change. And if there are strains on the communion, I don't feel them. Only those who wish for us to go back to the good ol' days of patriarchy and blind obedience feel the strain of change and innovation, not we who do the innovating toward a positive and fully inclusive future.

Just thinking about that makes me smile.

The other issue at hand is our Presiding Bishop elect, The Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori. The people who criticize her now haven't clue one about her. They don't know for instance that she was made to listen to some phone call on ++Frank's cell while standing in a hallway among some other bishops that were siding with the current PB. I believe that pressure was put to bear on the new PB's shoulders whether she wanted it or not. The Anglicans in England have been obviously busy interfering with their former colony again. And for all we know it was the Archbishop Rowan who was on the phone and who knows what was said to her.

I think it was Elizabeth Kaeton+ in her reflections who observed +Katharine walking slowly, her head hung down and her countenance one of profound sadness as she approached the podium in the House of Deputies to make the statement regarding B-033. +Katharine wasn't enjoying the moment either, people. And because of that moment, everyone is judging her infirm to do the right thing. But some of us know that her ministry in this Church began in Oregon and continues in Nevada even while she prepares to become THE Presiding Bishop five months from now, and that ministry was and will be one of building bridges and mending fences--HER way.

If you really want to know what +Katharine is about, go to her diocesan web site,http://www.nvdiocese.org/BISHOPSPAGES/_BpsDir.html and read what she has done and her views on ministry. Get to know her better and you will see that she has betrayed no one at anytime.

I will continue to champion her reputation even among those she has promised to protect and remove from the margins where the reasserters have put us. I urge you who would throw the first "stone" to consider what she has done in her life of ministry and the prospect of what she will accomplish for us in the future. This may be one singular step back but she will bring us that and more steps forward as she leads The Episcopal Church into a brighter future.

12 comments:

Psalmist said...

A short while ago I did something I should know better than to do: I went to the so-called "Virtue Online," following a link from I-forget-where right now. Aaaarrgh! Try "Venom Online"! That was some of the nastiest rhetoric I've read in quite a while...all on the subject of the new Presiding Bishop-Elect.

What made me the angriest there was reading someone bald-facedly lying about Bishop Jefferts Schori's education, claiming that her M.Div. was only honorary. That made me angry, but the anger increased when *no one* called the liar on the lie! It took me all of thirty seconds to check, though I already knew that no school awards honorary M.Div. degrees; the degree must always be earned. But virtually every comment carried some combination of lie, character assassination, and flawed logic

I know you called for a halt to negativity, and this probably qualifies as negative. I'm an outsider, a distant Wesleyan cousin of my Episcopal friends. But the same kinds of lies about the PB-Elect are being used as "proof" against ordained women, biblical equality, and women in positions of authority in general in lots of different venues. The poison spreads far beyond the American Episcopal community; what hurts a few hurts us all. Even the ones causing the hurt, perhaps most of all. How impoverished the soul must be if one is capable of stooping to falsehood to express one's disagreement with people or ideas!

One bright spot, however, was the coining of a phrase, "the patriarchal tantrum." I think that's exactly what this kind of reactionary garbage is. As with little children who "pitch fits," perhaps the wisest course of action is to stand calmly by, making sure they don't hurt themselves or others too badly, let them run out of steam, then see if they're ready to play nicely.

Catherine + said...

Dear Psalmist, I agree that the reasserters as they call themselves are such poor sports that all they can do is complain like the unhappy campers that they are and have been and find nothing good in anything.

And yes, their falsehood about +Katharine's education is stooping pretty low indeed.

I don't believe your comments to be negative, on the contrary, we must speak up for ourselves and our fellow clergywomen and laity who devote so much time to our churches. And yes, the reasserters would like to see women's ordination reversed so they can be back in power and subvert women back into their "place." But I am a firm believer that this will never happen. Women will continue to be ordained and continue to become elders or bishops in their respective denominations.

I congratulate you for your boldness and outspoken fervor on behalf of clergy women everywhere, and on behalf of the enlighten men in our churches who wholeheartedly support the ordination of women and the consecration of women as bishops.

And I absolutely LOVE your description of how the reasserters here and abroad should be handled as little children who cannot get their way, and to stand calm but firm and let them run out of steam until no one hears them anymore.

Well done, Psalmist!

Will Byrd said...

Another excellent piece, Catherine+. I love not only reading your messages, but the heart and brilliant mind behind them. Psalmist, I know only too well what you experienced at Virtue Online. I am a "stealth" member of another of their groups, and while I want to scream "if you HATE the Episcopal Church so much .. why don't you just leave and go do whatever works for you?" I know that there is a better way. The way we have repeatedly heard referred to as "The middle way" .. and THEN I remember what Catherine+ and I have talked about .. being LIGHT and Christ's presence to those who walk in such darkness and their own inner torment. This IS our opportunity to SHINE. I'm not being a "Pollyanna" (Oh what a picture .. me in pigtails), yet just think .. what motivates the people at Virtue Online, Apostacy, etc. is FEAR .. and the one thing (God help us figure out how to do it .. especially when I want to knock heads together) is .. LOVE. Not giving in to their juvenile whining .. but seeing their motivation as the fear it is, and doing what we can, with integrity, to show them Christ in and through our lives.

Charlene said...

Catherine,
I just wanted to drop you a note and let you know that I really appreciate your blog entries. I don't have the gift that you do in writing but I do enjoy reading. You have given me many things to think about and to talk about with friends.

Thanks again for sharing your blog with us.
Charlene

Catherine + said...

Dear Will and Charlene, thank you for your humbling comments. I appreciate every word. And I have a thing about straightening out things I hear and read that don't ring true.

Will is so right that we need to be the Light that illuminates the darkness that the reasserters seem to be in. They need help and only through Christ working in us can we help them deal with their misinformation and views.

Keep praying for enlightenment for them in Christ, all of us.

Catherine+

Saint Dumb Ox said...

Will, you are missing the main point. FEAR has nothing to do with it. It is about truth. If you say "Well, what is truth?" then you are quoting a very famous line. Truth in Love is what the reasserters are about. The two cannot be separated. We, like you, are not perfect and don't always get it right, but we cannot love you if we don't speak the truth.

Sophia said...

St. Ox,

Neither "truth" nor "love" is served by nastiness, tantrums, and the kind of crude misogyny I have read on these "reasserter" websites over and over again. We all rant on our blogs once in a while, but those sites cross the line of decency and respect over and over again without shame.

You have every right to disagree with positions held by others. But please don't condone the non-Christian behavior you know those who agree with your positions are engaging in.

Sophia said...

St. Ox,

Neither "truth" nor "love" is served by nastiness, tantrums, and the kind of crude misogyny I have read on these "reasserter" websites over and over again. We all rant on our blogs once in a while, but those sites cross the line of decency and respect over and over again without shame.

You have every right to disagree with positions held by others. But please don't condone the non-Christian behavior you know those who agree with your positions are engaging in.

Sophia said...

St. Ox,

Neither "truth" nor "love" is served by nastiness, tantrums, and the kind of crude misogyny I have read on these "reasserter" websites over and over again. We all rant on our blogs once in a while, but those sites cross the line of decency and respect over and over again without shame.

You have every right to disagree with positions held by others. But please don't condone the non-Christian behavior you know those who agree with your positions are engaging in.

Catherine + said...

Well put, Sophia.

Catherine+

saint dumb ox said...

The nastiness is wrong, yes. Saying that homosexuality is sinful is truthful, not spiteful or nasty or fearful or any of it. It's truth. I will fight for, argue for and defend the dignity of any human, no matter who they find attractive, but I will not lie. What I don't understand is the persistant charge that I hate or fear a person because I don't agree with them. I read all the time on gay blogs that if I don't think it's "OK to be gay" I must, therefore, fear and hate said person or people. There is a disconnect there. The inclusion that many in ECUSA preach stops at the conservative's door and demands that I accept it's message or it will pass me by. Not only that but when I say I think it's wrong or sinful I get labeled a fear monger or Nazi or sexist or worse. You have only my word that I hate no one and George MacDonald put it quite well when he wrote "Where there is no truth; there is no faith" (The Princess and Curdi. Great book.)

Catherine + said...

To St Ox of 06/29/06,

I wish to thank you for your candidness and clarification of where you stand. Not many reasserters do this to where we don't take offense...it is hard for us not to since the very air we seem to breath is full of condemnation, whether we are Christians or not.

I can see that from your point of view, you can identify with similar feelings of being attacked.

I acknowledge your belief about gayness. It will be a point that we as Christians will disagree on, but there is so much that we do agree on as well. Can one variable truly cause schism to the point of a Church divided? I suppose so, as sad as it seems.

Thank you again for your forthrightness.

Blessings,

Catherine+