Well, I’ve read the reflections on our General Convention from the Archbishop of Canterbury.  And I have to say it’s a thoughtful reflection.  The main problem I have with it is that he see’s sexual orientation as a lifestyle choice.  I think he’s wrong.  And I think this has grave consequences. (more…)

Jim Richardson, on his blog, posts the following, which might be considered somewhat difinitive:

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson jointly signed this letter to Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams in the wake of our General Convention.

The letter makes abundantly clear that we wish to remain engaged with the Anglican Communion, asks for respect for our governance and a recognition of all of the baptized members of our church including gays and lesbians. Here is the letter, followed by a second letter from Bishop Katharine.

The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Rowan Williams
Lambeth Palace
London

Dear Archbishop Williams,

We are writing to you as the Presiding Officers of the two Houses of The General Convention of The Episcopal Church. As your friends in Christ, we remain deeply grateful to you for your gracious presence among us recently during our 76th General Convention in Anaheim.

As you know, The General Convention voted this week to adopt Resolution D025, “Commitment and Witness to the Anglican Communion”—a multilayered resolution that addresses a range of important issues in the life of The Episcopal Church that clearly have implications for our relationships within the Anglican Communion. Because this action is already being variously interpreted by different individuals and groups, we want to offer our perspective to you with the hope that some background, context, and information will be helpful in understanding this action of our General Convention. If you have not already had an opportunity to read it, a copy of the resolution is attached. We understand Resolution D025 to be more descriptive than prescriptive in nature—a statement that reaffirms commitments already made by The Episcopal Church and that acknowledges certain realities of our common life. Nothing in the Resolution goes beyond what has already been provided under our Constitution and Canons for many years. In reading the resolution, you will note its key points, that: (more…)

Dean Baker had a somewhat different take on convention.  In his blog, he said:

I just arrived home.  General Convention was absolutely exhausting, and exhilarating.   If you haven’t heard, this morning we passed the resolution that will open the door for same-sex blessings/marriages.  A few days ago we passed the resolution that will allow us to ordain gay or lesbian bishops.  Both of these resolutions passed by huge majorities. (more…)

Well, there was news on a number of fronts from General Convention in my inbox this morning.  There was a Eucharist themed to domestic poverty.  There will be an effort, if it’s funded, to evangelize Latinos/Hispanics.  And the ordination of gays and lesbians has been approved by the House of Bishops.  Episcopal Life says: (more…)

I keep hoping we’ll all stop doing hateful things.  (I know hateful things are not the exclusive province of liberals or conservatives or Christians or non believers or any other group.)  But I was sad when I heard that my former bishop (and friend) Jerry Lamb has been receiving hate messages and death threats for his work in our Diocese of San Joaquin.  I’m not entirely sure if it’s because of the Episcopal Church’s policy of inclusion of the GLTBI community or because those who left our church there look to be losing in their efforts to take our church property with them.  Likely it’s both.  And then I see things like this, from Bishop Dan’s of Nevada’s blog:

The Church of the Holy Spirit in Bullhead City is a lovely small congregation in a town that is largely a retirement community. The congregation is primarily senior citizens. They are not the sort to march for liberal causes.

But just before Pentcost, they recieved a handwritten note threatening to burn their church because we are a gay inclusive denomination. I am not sure whether I am speechless at the absurdity of evil or whether the response to this sensless venom is too obvious.

One thin[g] I hope it will clarify for us as a diocese and a denomination is that we are in fact a family. What we do affects each other. That’s why we must support each other, consider each other, and appreciate each other.

It’s sad.  For me, things like this go along with the shooting at the haulocaust museum.  They are simply unacceptable.

Like I could stop it, right?

But of course, if we were all out front about how unacceptable such behavior is, I do think we could stop it — at least mostly.  And I think we should.  Even when it means that sometimes our friends and families might find us annoying (or too PC).  When we ignore and laugh at hateful things, we really allow them to continue.  We give tacit approval.  I don’t think Jesus is laughting.  I don’t think Jesus is looking the other way.  I don’t think Jesus approves.

Hopefully this is so self evident I don’t have to explain it to anyone.

I may be part time in my employment, but I am reasonably active in the life our our diocese.  Many of our congregations are small.  Historically, small congregations have been very persistent.  The smallest churches are families, and they survive difficulties that would swamp larger congregations.  That has been true.  And I’m pretty sure it will remain true.  What’s changing, at least in the Episcopal Church model, is how we’re going to have to do ministry.  We’ve been talking about this on a diocesan level. (more…)

Jim Richardson talks about making a place for different kinds of people in his blog fiat lux.  Among other things he says:

Both can exist together if our values include hospitality — welcoming all people.  To practice hospitality, we need to find ways to live in the tension of accommodating, as best we can, the many reasons people come to church, the theological ideas they bring (or the lack thereof), and the tastes they have in worship and music. It may help to know that much of what we think of as tradition is sometimes not that old; traditions can grow up in a hurry in a church. The wording of the  “traditional” Lord’s Prayer dates from the 1880s (check out the Middle-English version sometime). Many beloved hymns began as beer hall tunes in the Reformation. Meanwhile, a number of supposedly “contemporary” church songs are now more than 30 years old.

If you are interested in more, you can read the whole article here.

Episcopal Café offers the following “weekly collection plate of some of the good things that Episcopalians and their congregations have done that made the news this past week.”  In many people’s minds, this may be mission and ministry.  And I guess I wouldn’t disagree.  But in my mind, this is also stewardship in its most basic fashion:  taking care of God’s creation.  In my mind, that’s what God called us to do (dating all the way back to the mythic garden, which sets up and defines our relationship with God).  I guess it’s a question of whether we start with baptism and gifts and ministry or we start with creation and our place in God’s creation.  Both are places I’ve been known to start.  Anyway, here’s the “collection:” (more…)

Bishop Dan did a quick writeup on the most recent draft.  (This is a proposed document for defining the relationship between all member churchs of the Anglican Communion, including the Episcopal Church.)  I’d link you, but it’s all here:

I still haven’t digested the document. But it all seems to turn on section 4, the enforcement clause. And apparently the ACC has not approved that except as a discussion document. So the thing really isn’t even on the table yet for voting by anyone. It is more like a motion made so the subject can be discussed. We should therefore discuss — but as in the case of germ fears, don’t panic.

Marshall Scott writes in his article “What will be lost,” which I found in the Daily Episcopalian part of Episcopal Cafe:

For most of my career in the Episcopal Church we have been conscious of – even proud of – our vagueness. That’s not to say that it hasn’t driven every one of us crazy at some point; but we cherished it nonetheless. It allowed us to always pray together, usually worship together, and sometimes work together despite our strongly-held differences. The old epigram associated “Broad-” churchmanship and “haziness;” but the truth was that we all took part in some haziness as a central strategy of living together in the Episcopal Church.

I think he’s right.  We are being driven to do something which is counter to the roots of tradition:  to define concisely what one must believe to be an Episcopalian (and thus define out anyone who doesn’t fit in this narrow definition).  We are in danger of losing the breadth which is our heritage.  We are in danger of declaring that we cannot live with and pray with those who disagree with us on important issues.  We are in danger of creating outcasts in the Body of Christ.  I think it’s awful!  If you’d like to see the rest of his article, you can find it here.