Thursday, June 28, 2012

GC 2012's 77 year: how to follow the issues

Scott Gunn, Episcopal priest and director of Forward Movement, has posted all of the below on this blog called "Seven Whole Days" that will be covering the events and developments of the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church USA, which will begin on July 5th. Included are links to the Blue Book, or program of the convention, a document of proposed resolutions with and without the reports on each. You may wish to bookmark these as he suggests for quick reference if you wish to follow closely the things to be discussed, debated and decided upon for the next three years. Please also be prayerful for the deputies and bishops who will be in attendance voting on these issues. Thank you.

So here you go: every resolution that will be considered by General Convention 2012. Please note that there are more resolution on the way. I will update this file until the deadline for submitting resolutions, early in General Convention.

The “Blue” Book — A001 through A155
“Blue” Book resolutions only, minus the reports – A001 through A155.
Everything else – A156 and up; all B, C, and D resolutions. As of today, goes up to A167, B012, C107, and D020. Last updated 26 June 2012.
Bookmark this page and come back. When I get my hands on new resolutions, I’ll update the “everything” file and change the date.

To track the progress of legislation or to see how the resolutions get amended, use the wonderful system at the General Convention website. Seriously, this is a fantastic website. The General Convention Office did a great job, and pretty much everything you’d want to know about General Convention and its legislation is readily available. What was the only thing missing? A giant PDF, now available here at 7WD.

For what it’s worth, check out the index of GC 2012 resolutions with the 7WD official position and each one, provided I have gotten around to blogging it.

ALSO, go here for the General Convention Directoryto find out even MORE!
2012 GC Directory">

As I’ve been blogging my way through the “Blue” Book and other resolutions for General Convention, I had been wishing I could get all of the non-”Blue” Book resolutions in one file. It just makes it easier to keep track of them. Thanks to some help (from someone who wishes to remain anonymous, I think), I have made a combined file of resolutions.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Naming God: Maggi Dawn explores Expansive Language

Maggi Dawn, Chaplain at Robinson Chapel, Cambridge University, UK, is, in my view, an amazing voice in today's Anglican Church and emergent theology. Her essay, Naming God, was written early this month and published in the Yale Divinity School's "Marquand Reader".

Here is an excerpt:


“Like the nine billion names of God
Don’t bring you any closer
To anyone you can simply set eyes on…”

(Bruce Cockburn, One of the Best Ones)

Language is a powerful tool. How we employ it in theology matters because we are attempting to articulate truth as we find it. But liturgical language has a particular power to reinforce ideas, images and beliefs; it is a performative utterance, enhanced and reinforced by rhythm, poetry, and music, and it sounds the depths within us because it is employed consciously and deliberately in relationship to God and to the worshipping community. It’s hard, then, to overestimate the importance of the language of worship, and in constructing it we need to attend to concerns that are closely entwined: pastoral, theological and aesthetic.

Innovation in liturgical language always has a theological undercurrent, but the initial motivation for change is often pastoral, rising from a concern to ensure that those who come to worship do not feel excluded, disinherited, or undervalued by the language of worship. In response to this, words that imply feudal, military or imperial power, gender attribution, or other culturally sensitive issues, have often been carefully excised from liturgical scripts, rendering unusable for the purposes of worship a whole slew of names for God, such as Father, Lord, King, Warrior, Strong Tower, Shield, Defender.

Problems raised by “Inclusive” Language

There are, though, a number of problems with this exercise. In the effort to make language inclusive to one group, we can inadvertently exclude another, or we find that we have achieved little more than replacing one problem with another. For example, to exclude any charge of patriarchy, liturgical language may be re-cast by replacing all male pronouns with female ones. Certainly this may have some value in shocking the ear, startling the mind into entertaining a new vision of God. But simply employing a new set of pronouns while leaving the structure and enactment of the liturgy exactly the same is at best a temporary fix. If we merely substitute one power structure for another, a new metaphor for an old one, then we are in danger of merely whitewashing sepulchers, rather than drawing closer to truth.

Another approach is to remove gendered language from liturgy altogether, and instead to engage neutral descriptors for God. One of the most-used replacements for Father-Son-Spirit is Creator-Redeemer-Sustainer, which attempts to retain a three-fold character without attributing gender to God. Yet here again the language has theological limitations. It is a seemingly Trinitarian formula, but these three actions properly belong to God in Unity; to assign them to three functionary names is, by implication, to deny the unity of God in creation or redemption. But perhaps worse, used in exclusion, this kind of language describes God in terms of function rather than relationship. It is fundamental to Christian theology that God, while not a corporeal being, is not impersonal. God is not an “it”, and the language of job-descriptions doesn’t serve to address God adequately.

A further issue with avoiding particular names or pronouns is the tortured relationship that results with historic texts that are undeniably beautiful, but were not written in inclusive language. Adapting anonymous texts from unknown sources is one matter, but can we really justify updating the elegant and captivating language of John Donne, George Herbert, or John Mason? (If it doesn’t disturb the artistic conscience to replace a pronoun in one of their works, at least one would hope that respect for rhyme and meter might deter us!) But once we realize we cannot rewrite their words, are we really going to accept the impossible choice that the demands of inclusivity impose, and impoverish our experience by never reading them at all?

“Expansive Language”: a better solution?

It’s clear, then, that inclusive language poses significant difficulties. But another approach is available in “expansive language”, which has been an undercurrent in liturgics for some time, and has more recently come to the fore.

To read the rest of this essay please visit Maggi's blog here.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

greenbough: Blog of Marla Hanley

I don't know how many bishops have wives or husbands or partners that blog on their take of current events and social justice issues.

I don't know about the others but I do know about wife of Bishop Michael Hanley of the Diocese of Oregon. Marla Hanley is a blogger who speaks her mind and doesn't sit on a fence of make or imagination. Like me, you are either on one side of particular issues or you are on the other.

Recently a retired priest friend of mine from my area in southern Oregon posted a picture of a fence near a tree. On the side of the fence was very large sign that said, DO NOT SIT ON FENCE.

Part of being able to choose one side or another is determined by a state of being. Which states of being? Educated or Ignorant are the two definitions I would pick. The ones who do sit on the fence could careless of it. These fence sitters won't commit one way or another, so they remain silent. It is the once who remain silent who encourage the Ignorant that they are right about an issue and the other side is wrong, in spite of the facts and proofs.

Marla is no fence sitter. I encourage you to read her blog greenbough here.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

RevGalBlogPals: Friday Five: More Randomness

RevGalBlogPals: Friday Five: More Randomness:

RevGal Blog Pals' Friday Five: More Randomness

Happy Friday, Gals and Pals...
Our FF today is in honor of spontaneous thinking!
1. What religion/faith besides yours captures your curiousity and why?

Hinduism: because there is so much I don't know about it; the minutae of it and its influence on the history of India.

2. What is the first or most memorable pop song you ever learned as a kid?

I Don't Know How To Love Him from Jesus Christ Superstar.

3. If God were a color.....(finish this sentence creatively)

...God would be an ever-changing rainbow alternating with bright warm light.

4. If you were going to make a sandwich right now for lunch, and you magically had all the items you need for it, what would that sandwich be?

Fresh sliced turkey on dark rye, mayo, a smudge of yellow mustard, fresh shredded lettuce, sliced tomato, a little red onion and red wine vinaigrette. Oh and a dill pickle spear on the side...

5. How are you doing? Really, how are you?

Behind the "I'm OK" is really an "All right" that's frayed on the end of all the letters. It is s stressful time job wise [as in no job], financially [enough to pay property taxes this fall and some cash each week], purposeful [with my volunteer work] and occasionally relaxing [when the sun does shine, I'm in the yard/garden or reading outside]. I am content but also sad for many reasons which I will not name here, but small things bring me quiet joy. I have friends, which is a kind of wealth all in nice people packages, and have met new people at Rotary, which I was invited to a few weeks ago and like it. That's probably more than most people will answer but that is me and there i am.

Bonus: What are you enjoying/loving right now?

Listening to Pabla complain and talk to me in Kittehese. Also the wideawakeness drinking coffee at 8:31pm at night will give you and make you do Friday Fives at 1:17am PST. Heh!