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Re: Voting on controversial issues

> Whether or not the legislative process is the best way to be the
> church is highly debatable.  

The same may be said of whether the Congress is the best way to be the
United States, but having elected those folks, I surely wouldn't want to
pay them to sit just talking for two years, avoiding all legislation.

General Convention is a legislature.  That's what it is set up to be.  Of
course it can and should be much more than that, but we need to be most
circumspect about reforms that prevent deputies from doing the work that
we send them there to do.  In a mere 10 days in July 2000 deputies are
expected to establish the major policy of the Episcopal Church for the
next three years. If we don't do it, we leave it to a much smaller body,
Executive Council, for the next three years, and Executive Council is much
less directly accountable to the Church at large than are deputies. Most
members of Council welcome knowing the directions General Convention wants
them to take, as do most members of staff.

There are only two or three issues that vex the Church now anyway.  Why
cut back on all the other important work as a form of deadlock on just
these few? 

In the Continental Congress, once when Benjamin Franklin was losing on an
issue, he said, "Gentlemen, I move that we pause for a moment of prayer."
Alexander Hamilton responded, "Gentlemen, I move that we bring in no
outside interference." 

> But, even if we continue to use it, the
> legislative process must be supplemented with a process where  "winner  and
> "losers" can talk together in meaningful, respectful, dialogue.   Otherwise,
> intra-denominational fragmentation will continue.  To date, I am  finding very
> little concern for these issues, from either side.

John, I have devoted the last twenty-five years of my life to promoting
meaningful, respectful dialogue.  I have not given up on that commitment
one whit.  I care about it deeply.  Name a parish that wants to talk, and
I will go there.  Name a single conservative parish that has ever issued
an invitation.

Unless I misread their published statements, your side is most exercised
against the Presiding Bishop and so-called 'revisionist' bishops merely
because they associate with folks like me.  They hardly want to have
dialogue with us.

Just how welcome is my willingness?  My mother taught me that it is rude
to crash a party.  It would seem especially rude if I were to knock on
their door during the party and say, 'But you are all invited to come to
my house even if I am not invited to yours.'

Some say that lesbigays have crashed the party by coming to church at all
until the church has issued us a clearer invitation.  They would be right
except for one point the size of a mustard seed:  Lesbians and gays are
not in church at the church's invitation, but at the bridegroom's. 

Even in our diocese, one liberal rector told me that he lost three
pledging units after he invited me to preach during a Lenten evening
service a few years ago.

I'll buy you lunch if you can accurately guess the number of times that I
have been in the office of any Presiding Bishop.

I'll buy you lunch even if you get it wrong!  I rejoice that you and I can
talk.  Thank you for your friendship with a sinner like me.


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