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A series of essays in the Episcopal Church


This Is Definitely Not Bishop Katharine's Moment of Clarity

This Is Definitely Not Bishop Katharine's Moment of Clarity

by Laurie Gudim, Fort Collins Colorado.

This is definitely not Bishop Katharine's moment of clarity. What she is suggesting is more like that time in church history when it was decreed that the priesthood would be celibate, and all the wives of priests and bishops had to join convents, than it is like the time when Christians decided to abstain from eating meat.

She insinuates that the oppression of the glbt community is not a real oppression. (Why, because we aren't dying? We do die over this issue, all the time.) She assumes we'll stick around in the Episcopal Church, even though our relationships aren't blessed and we aren't allowed to be ordained. She assumes we'll be the "incarnational representatives" of homosexuality to the third world, when we would have to go there as silent and closeted people, without power or authority. Like some member of an outreach team would come out to a Ugandan when they don't feel safe to be out with their fellow team members.

She seems to think this is a generational issue that will cure itself with a few deaths and retirements. Our youngsters, she has said in other places, don't really think this is an issue. So what makes her think that these same enlightened youngsters will buy into the hypocrisy of the Episcopal Church? They'll go join the UUs or the UCC.

I believe that the future of the Episcopal Church depends upon our honest dealing with this issue now. There are plenty of other entities that do outreach better. There are other entities who do Bible-thumping way better. Formation, community-building, good liturgy -- all these things one can get in other places. The unique Anglican gift of a "fixed liturgy and a free pulpit" has only one stronghold in the U.S. That's what we have to offer. Without it, we may as well close up shop.

She's thrashing around -- beginning to see that it really is the Episcopal Church's "charism" to come to terms with this issue and to be a shining light to the rest of the world. It's really fertile ground for a strong glbt voice. I just saw Claiming the Blessing's new video, "Voices of Witness". It's a good beginning. And I like Elizabeth Kaeton's idea, in a recent blog, that we thumb our noses at the Sept. 30 deadline and REALLY study this issue, in dialogue within churches, between churches, etc. and this in response to my 7 point plan

I think we can say to the Primates --

  1. we do not have official rites for same sex blessings
  2. consents are made according to our Constitution and Canons
  3. we know we are offending you by our stance on the role of gays and lesbians (and women for most provinces) but we do not ask you to take our stance for your own.
  4. we deeply appreciate your willingness to engage in the listening process and to take all this time about TEC in an era of global disaster.
  5. we want to work with you to address the pressing needs of poverty, global warming, HIV/AIDS, malaria (more people dying every day than died in the tsunami btw)
  6. If you do not want us at Lambeth 2008 - we accept that and will use all the funds we would have spent on that meeting for the relief of suffering around the world. (including all that the dioceses will spend to send our bishops and our contribution to the ACC for this, as well as encouraging Compass Rose to donate their funds to relief and development too). This will be our communal fast.
  7. If you decide that we are no longer a part of the Anglican Communion we will continue to work with churches around the world who wish to be companions on the Way with us. The bonds of our affection are rooted in Baptism and gathering at the Eucharist. We are brothers and sisters in Christ not through our own doing but because Christ has made it so.

I think your plan is right on. I'd only add: that we would be happy to offer education on the subject of the spirituality of marginalized taboo-breakers (and then work hard via the idea I shared on Sofffia this morning to measure up to that challenge).

With your response, we could go forward with ++Katharine's plan to be the incarnational whatnots around this issue, because we would clearly and firmly be representing ourselves as who we truly are.

I agree it's not a decision straight people should be making for gays and lesbians. And as Bonnie Anderson says it's also not a decision the bishops should be making for the Church as a whole. Regardless of their right to do so. So I'm glad many bishops are saying they can't make the decision without the rest of us. I hope that's the proposal they make at their gathering.

I also like the idea that Bart proposes via the fr jake stops the world blog that our Bishop allies be asked to resurrect the resolution that would expand the marriage rite in the BCP to include same sex couples.