15 Some people brought their little children for Jesus to bless. But when his disciples saw them doing this, they told the people to stop bothering him. 16 So Jesus called the children over to him and said, "Let the children come to me! Don't try to stop them. People who are like these children belong to God's kingdom. 17 You will never get into God's kingdom unless you enter it like a child!" the Contemporary English Version
So much is happening these days in the Anglican Communion and our own Episcopal Church that it's a bit hard to keep track of events and non-events as they occur. But, oh why not? I'll give it a go...
I suppose I could start with the Panel of Reference and their skewed view of women in leadership and the priesthood...give me a break...they wouldn't know how to reference anything if their lives depended on it. All the pontificating in their stilted brains will get them no where. All I see is a lot of wasted time and strutting over their negligble thoughts and clouded perceptions masquerading as intellect. All of this--the Panel of Reference--is brought to us by the alleged orthodox/reasserters both here and abroad. It is apparent to me that they don't know their ancient history, biblical history or the words of Christ very well at all. I guess they missed the part where our Lord Christ tells us, unequivocally, that He "has come to fulfill the Law, not to destroy it". That said...
I agree with the Rev. Susan Russell in her piece regarding--and I paraphrase here--"Who will be next?" First it's the women who aren't good enough to be anything more than the Church's chattel and cannon fodder for the minority male chauvinist members of the priesthood, and I include old Rowan in there too. I will call him Archbishop Rowan when he shows me he's worthy of the title and position. He might do well to look to our Presiding Bishop on how to successfully lead a Church into the Reign of God.
Back in June of 2006, I wrote a piece regarding B-033 [the 27th of June to be exact], and in it I said:
"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."
I do believe it is time that those progressive bishops that guide our Church ought to follow the example of retired Bishop Jerry Lamb, and current Bishop Beisner of Northern California, and take the rebel letters for APO and such as a renunciation of their ordination vows, "fire" their wardens and vestries that support them, and go from there in regaining and rebuilding the polity, and the spiritual morale of the parishes that are under siege and are being hijacked for the spiritual terrorist of the Global South, Peter Akinola, and his cronies, here and elsewhere.
We have to remember that the majority of Episcopalians who believe in Christ as the fulfillment of the Law [after all, He told us so!] and consequently recognize the right of every one affected to enjoy the benefits thereof, can and should be making the difference by speaking out, loudly or softly, to the minority who want to see our Church torn asunder by their Scripture-centered Christianity instead of the more Christ-centered Christianity that includes everyone, everywhere; male and female, gay and straight, rich and poor, every color and creed imaginable. Churches and dioceses should consider doing what the Church of the Incarnation in Santa Rosa has done in California, pastored by the Rev. Matthew Lawrence, and that is taking out full page ads in the local papers to remind everyone that the majority of Episcopalians believe in fairness, equality for all and the true mission of Christ's coming and dying, His resurrection and His grace. We need to "flip" the media and world's perception that the Episcopal Church USA is crumbling away and that the so-called orthodox reasserters are right [which of course, they aren't...].
We have a strong Presiding Bishop who is looking out for the good of all, including those that would deny her the rightly balloted results of her Spirit-led election by the House of Bishops and affirmation by the House of Deputies. We need to strongly show our support of her leadership and compassion, and that of those bishops, priests and deacons as well as the progressive lay members who will not permit our Church to be thrown back into the Dark Ages with a Reasserter Inquisition against women priests--gay or straight--or, the community of believers who love differently but more importantly, those that simply exhibit Christ's love to all, to those of different views, to the abled and disabled, and yes, even to our enemies...the list could go on.
For if we fidget and do nothing now, who are we to blame when the Anglican/Episcopal Fundamentalist Evangelical Right over runs our loved Church and its Christ-centered members? When it strips the Holy Orders from intelligent and blessed women bishops, priests and deacons? When it makes our gay community in the Church wear mandatory pink triangles, marking them for discrimination, denying them the Sacraments of our Church, relegating them to the back of the sanctuary, or if they let them in at all? These are questions we must ask ourselves with all the candor we can face, because if the likes of the "diminutive Iker" [Hat tip: Bishop Barbara Harris] and others of his jaundiced cloth are allowed to make policy for the rest of us, we are truly weak and spineless non-effective Christian witnesses. What's the point of having a ratified Constitution and Canons if we are not going to enforce them, especially with those who would throw out Christ, manger and all, for a document that has been messed with for ages to suit the interests of power-hungry, prejudiced men?
The time is now to make a difference, save our Church--indeed, our faith--from the backward men and women [eye roll of bafflement here] who would deny the right of other women to Holy Orders and leadership in the Church. If we allow this to happen, more bigotry, discrimination and scapegoating will occur and no one--NO ONE--will be spiritually or physically safe. Socially conscious members need to see this manouerving for what it is: post-war neo-Nazism, alive and well in the world, our country and in the Church. The time is now to get off of the fence and take a stand for Christ and His Bride [that would be us, the Church, if you didn't know]. I am sure a reasserter somewhere is horrified that Christ calls the Church His bride [must be a bad translation!...a female no less, a co-heir in Christ! Eek!], someone He loves enough to die for. No one has the right to dishonor Him or His Bride, especially those who would deny Him and those who truly try to follow Him, His little children--the very ones His "disciples" tried to keep away from Him. He did, after all, die for everyone, .
Nothing we do changes the past. Everything we do changes the future. ~~ Joan Chittister