Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Bishop Waldo, Meet Jim Naughton: Upper South Carolina, Meet the Future

The Episcopal Disocese of Upper South Carolina recently posted videos of a post General Convention 2012 conference held a few weeks ago. For the most part it is pretty boring stuff, and it was just as well that I was otherwise engaged spelunking and checking out new caves, I found this one with that came with an ocean view.

Enough for scenes from my vacation. The video of the post convention debriefing that I watched is called Part 10. Embedding has been blessedly disabled, but you can watch it for yourself by clicking on the link. I recommend a tall glass of your favorite adult beverage prior to watching, just don't be caught with a mouthful lest you spew your drink onto your computer. For those who can't bear to watch, I have transcribed most of Part 10, the Q +A session below:

At minute 4:40 Bishop Waldo catches heat from a same sex blessing supporter who asked/said,
"In essence you (Bishop Waldo) are saying that my work on understanding the theological basis for the rites is wrong. (ed. note: Bishop Waldo voted "No" on the same-sex blessing rite approved by GC 2012). There are those of us who believe that all or at least sufficient rigor is done. How can you say that we are wrong?"
Bishop Waldo, instead of simply saying, "Because I say so!" proceeds to relate details of his post convention plane trip during which he meets Jim Naughton, editor of the radical left blog, "The Episcopal Cafe" to which I will not link for your own protection.
(Minute 6:10 +Waldo speaking to Naughton) "So, if we've been doing this for forty years, working on this for nearly forty years, why is it that there has not been more direct engagement with the recieved tradition in the theological work done in support of it, and in particular my biggest issue on this is in the document that we received at General Convention which represents our Church's official statement..."

"...A question that I often ask, If you believe that homosexuality is a sin, and there is nothing in here that describes how it might not be, then you are not going to open the document. My concern about that is a question of unity within the Church. For me it is a question of respect for the dignity of every human being to address the question that is actually being asked."
(Minute 8:00) Jim Naughton: "Up to two or three years ago, everything we've been trying to say about this from the side of those supporting same gender blessing has been done in the context of all out war."
(Translation: All's fair in the context of love and war and/or the end justifies the means in the context of all out war.)
+Waldo: "There are so many on the right (word stressed) who have been so negative and oppressive (stressed) and hateful (stressed) in some of their responses, not everybody, but there has been so much of that, and we all know, any of us who have been married know that when you get into a tense conversation and the stakes are high that you are not going to do your best and most thoughtful and reflective work. That's when doors get slammed."
Jim Naughton: "You know you are right. We really haven't addressed those things and we need to..."
+Waldo: "This is frustrating for me... I say often, 'I support the full inclusion of gay and lesbian persons in the life and ministry of the Church,' and for me that means eventually finding a place for these blessings to happen... But I also am concerned about the theological piece here, and the reason I am concerned is because we have such a diversity of theological views, and that is so rare in the Church..."

(INTERUPPTED by a voice from the crowd at minute 10:01. Did they say something about the gross lack of diversity of theological views evident in +Waldo's clergy and his GC delegation? Whatever it was, it appears to have upset the Bishop a little).

+Waldo: "I truly beg to differ. If you were to ask me which way this diocese leans, I could not tell you. When I was in Minnesota it was really obvious that it tipped. If you go to L.A., Newark, etc... it is obvious..."

...(11:15) "There has been a time when people who have tried to have this conversation from the perspective of trying to find a space for gay and lesbian persons who have been treated as pagans (stressed) as being merely interested in sex. And I gotta tell you the conversations I have with couples who are in committed relationships... that's not the primary subject. The primary subject has a lot more to do with exactly the kinds of things that people in a heterosexual marriage hold up as the ideal for that relationship and those are questions that we have to listen to."
+Waldo: "So you elected a Bishop who is a radical centrist. So if you are on the right I am going to push you, and if you are on the left I am going to push you. But we are going to find a way forward, and we are not going to dilly-dally about it because frankly I think we are all tired of talking about it and fighting about this. I think we are all ready to get on with the core of God's mission in the Church which is to serve the homeless, the hungry. It is to bear witness to God's love not God's laws. Jesus did say, 'I have come to fulfill not to abolish' so those laws are still here; we can't just say they don't exist, but we can find that balance between law and grace that errs on the side of grace."
"...The authority of the Bishop as to how it will be lived out is maintained in this and I will do that. Yes I've had frustrated people on both sides coming at me over the past week, a lot more of them in Minnesota who are really angry and not talking with me anymore and that saddens me more than you can possibly imagine cause some of them have been my closest friends for nearly twenty years but the inclusion of everybody left and right is my vow."
Momma would have said that such a "friend" was never your friend in the first place.

Then we get a question from the congo which is inaudible but is probably a plea begging, "When, oh when can we do same sex blessings?"
+Waldo: "The resolution itself says Advent 2012 so we couldn't do it tomorrow anyway. This bishop isn't going to do that. I have promised I am not going to rush this, and so to those who are hurt by this I apologize, but you got to hear me; many people say when they hear me talking about this, suddenly they'll come back and start arguing with me about theological points about same gender relationships, and I want to say 'We are talking apples and oranges. I'm talking unity, you're talking about a particular thing, and they are not exactly the same. I'm talking about a dialog. I'm talking about creating space for everybody, and I intend to create the space for gay and lesbian persons too. Where it is not there...' I mean I don't know what else to say, but it is critically important to me that we find a space forward get on with our mission." (Polite applause)
Finally (scroll to the last minute of the tape) a question about the Presiding Bishop, and her term which expiries in 2015, and Bishop Waldo jumps to the defense of +KJS. I just hope his wife wasn't listening.
+Waldo: "I want to say something because I know the Wall Street Journal just raked her over the coals, and I just want to say that her leadership of the house of Bishops is uniformly admired by the Bishops. This business about her being a dictator is utter nonsense. When she leads us, she is absolutely open with us. She is graceful to everyone there, and she is business-like. When she's got the gavel, things move, and space is created. There were plenty of points of personal privilege that were offered..." (saved by Deus ex machina, the end of the tape).

Maybe Bishop Waldo wants to be the next Presiding Bishop of TEc. He was quick to jump up and sing her praises.

Yes, there will be same sex blessings officially performed in Upper South Carolina. This Bishop has his heart set upon it, and what your Bishop wants, your Bishop gets.

Before he does so, will he produce for us a "direct engagement with the recieved tradition" in the theological work in support of same sex blessing that will respect the dignity of every conservative human being? Or will it be a case of "all's fair in love and war" and we'll just have to live into the context of it?

The great flushing sound you hear is the sound of the tide as it ebbs from the Diocese of Upper South Carolina.

At least I'll have a cave with a view.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:33 PM

    Only in TEo could Bp. Waldo be a centrist of any stripe.
    John D.