Next week could be a week that will go down in infamy, and I am raising the alert status to DEFCON 2. I am talking about the upcoming triennial convention of the Episcopal Church in Anaheim. Resolutions "debated" and passed by past conventions have frequently been fodder for the national press, and have quite likely been the cause for many to leave our church. I have reviewed many of the resolutions and followed some of the discussion going on over the web. The 2009 convention promises to put the Episcopal Church back in the spotlight once again.
This past Sunday, there was another appearance of a bulletin insert from Episcopal Life Online (A.K.A. Episcopal Pravda). This one surprised a few members of our church when they read for the first time about some of the resolutions up for "debate" which include:
"• Holy Women, Holy Men an overhaul of Lesser Feasts and Fasts, which would add a number of names to the Calendar of the Church Year.
Including the name of self avowed revolutionary socialist Vida Dutton Scudder. Could it be that this soon to be holy woman will also break the sexual orientation barrier in the Episcopal Calendar of "saints?"
• New prayers for: artists and writers; the Virgin Mary; care of God’s creation; on the occasion or anniversary of a disaster; prophetic witness in the church and society; reconciliation and forgiveness; and scientists and environmentalists.
"Prophetic witness" in society leaves the door wide open for any number of controversial issues to show up in your service and cause more conflict in the congo.
• Consideration of requests for authorization to develop rites of blessing for same-gender unions, especially in states that have legalized such unions or marriages.
• Use of gender-neutral language for prayer book marriage services;
That could be the show stopper for many in our church.
• Requests to overturn, nullify or supersede GC06 Resolution B033, which called for restraint in electing or approving the election as bishops of candidates “whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion.”
Read: Divorced homosexual men, or anyone else otherwise considered by our forefathers as inappropriate leaders of the Church.
Some have asked me, can anything be done to stop this majical mystery bus tour that we are on? I am afraid that all we in Upper South Carolina can do is pray that our Bishop takes a strong stand against these resolutions.
Elsewhere, a few are speaking up. Fr. Dan wrote this on the HoB/D list serve regarding General Convention 2009's many resolutions. I quote with permission.
"What an unconscionable waste of time
for convention to have to consider these resolutions. Talk about poor
stewardship! Convention's action will have absolutely ZERO impact on any of
these issues, all of which are dealt with more effectively by formal and
informal coalitions of interested parties at the local level. And this is to
say nothing of the fact that the vast majority of deputes and bishops lack
the requisite expertise to even be qualified to have an informed opinion on
most of these questions. In the meantime, the world sees us as the mouse
(more like the gnat) that roared, and we alienate even more of our own
members who are embarrassed by their own church's public positions. I am
reminded why I wore out the No button on my voting device in Columbus and
You tell em, Fr. Dan!
In the past, conservatives have put up gallant, if unsuccessful, fights to try to stem the tide of new age thinking. This year may be different. The lower part of SC's Bishop Mark Lawrence wrote to his clergy that he did not intend to engage in a political struggle at GENCON 09. (Read it all at T19)
"Certainly, Kendall as our Canon Theologian will monitor the developments at General Convention 2009, but I believe it is in keeping with our declared vision as a diocese to focus on what we believe God is calling us to do, not on the strategies and battles he called us to engage in yesterday."
In other words, there is no point in arguing with lunatics, even when they are driving the bus backwards over a cliff.
What then should we do? Bishop Lawrence goes on to suggest that we look to the real future of Anglicanism,
"...our 'Inside Strategy' is not to tilt at windmills in Quixotic fashion thinking we can turn back the clock to some prior age; it is to help shape the future that is emerging in global Anglicanism from within the Communion."
He appears to be saying that everyone should step back and let the idiots drive off the cliff if they want to.
I have to ask +Lawrence, does that entail getting off this bus and onto another?
I ask +Henderson that if he cannot bear to cut the ties that bind us to that bus, please stretch that rope as far as you can or at least cut us some slack!