Executive Council Does the Right Thing

June 15, 2007

Kudos to the Executive Council for taking the time to make prayerful and diligent decisions about the forward movement of the church.

I am sure that as with all decisions, their actions will be exhilerating for some and heartbreaking for others.  Let’s keep the whole church in our prayers as we move forward together.

Find more on their actions at walkingwithintegrity.blogspot.com.


Opinions expressed are my own and are not associated with any organization I affiliate with.


15 Responses to “Executive Council Does the Right Thing”

  1. Isn’t it wonderful? I am very happy

  2. Jeff Says:

    So am I!!


  3. obadiahslope Says:

    And what of the broken hearted? Should they stay por leave TEC?

  4. Jeff Says:

    I think they need to examine the reasons for their broken-heartedness.

    I’ve been thinking a lot about our conversations and I am not so sure that I would use the word ‘oppressed’ for what they are going through.

    The Diocese of Ft. Worth, or San Joaquin, has not had any actions forced on them. They initiated their withdrawal due to their intolerance of women.

    That’s not oppression. That’s their decision to oppress and their decision to remain behind. So while I pray for the congregants in the pews who are broken-hearted in Ft Worth because they have been lead into a place of conflict, I don’t think they are oppressed.

    If they can’t live as part of the church, then yes, they should leave. But they can’t leave as a diocese. The ethical thing to do for Jack Iker is to resign his episcopate if he feels his church is so far gone.

    Otherwise, it appears to me, then it is only about power– and doing everything he can to keep it.


  5. obadiahslope Says:

    I am not sure I would use the word oppressed either. I would not want to hint that being a religous dissenter in TEC is to live under the threat of violence for example. But it seems to me that TEC has decided that it does not want theological conservatives, unless they change their mind on inclusion. I think TEC should be open about this. To say you are welcome to theological conservatives , when they are only welcome if they change their minds or don’t seek to be a priest or bishop is misleading. If TEC wants to be the inclusive church that you want it to be, so be it. It would be psatoral then to let people leave in an orderly manner. Some of the progressive bishops, such as Hollingworth in Ohio, I think have attempted to do this.

  6. Jeff Says:

    I do think TEC is striving to be a church based on inclusion, and one based on communion. Those things cannot be done when based on doctrine, nor when one small but very vocal party cries foul and cries it very loudly no matter what is done to make it feel at home and welcome. I think there is a profound misunderstanding about just what “inclusion” means. I have written a little about that here.

    I like Eric Law’s definition of inclusion:

    Inclusion is a discipline of extending our boundary to take into consideration anther’s needs, interests, experience, and perspective, which will lead to clearer understanding of ourselves and others, fuller description of the issue at hand, and possibly a newly negotiated boundary of the community to which we belong.

    I am not sure that the dissenters in the TEC have done this. If they have, I have not seen evidence of it. I think that in most cases– not all but most– the TEC has made attempts to ensure that dissenters can remain in dialogue in the conversation. Look at the diocese of Dallas. They have voiced disagreement with the church’s position, have a stated policy preventing ordination of gay partnered priests, and there is little fallout.

    A place like Ft. Worth, though, is not willing to settle for that– it is their way or no way.

    Now– I’m not happy with the Diocese of Texas’ canons, just for the record. I also realize that the way to bring about the change is not to jump up and down and tell people how mad it makes me.

    I think it is difficult to say that TEC has not met the standard of inclusion just because a few select places who would have nothing short of moving back to the 1662 prayer book and eliminating equal rites for women in ordination are unwilling to talk about anything but their own “oppression” at the hands of TEC (I believe it is Akinola or Orombi who started using that word). Who knows– maybe eliminating the democratically selected process for selecting episcopal leadership will be next on their list so that they can ensure that their views will be enforced on the rest of the church.


  7. obadiahslope Says:

    Thank you for that information about dallas. that is interesting. Would it be possible for a church to have a similar policy in the diocese of LA? I am not being cheeky – I don’t know. It seems to me that the conservatives in TEC might be in the position of gays – wondering if they are welcome, and the answer varying from place to place. The gays are welcome in more and more places – but the conservatives seem less welcome. Bishops who want to keep both groups in their dioceses seem to be finding it increasingly difficult. there is an interesting article about +Persell of Chicago linked at episcopal cafe.

  8. Jeff Says:

    Actually the diocese of LA has had the same policy in LA; Bishop Bruno has taken many steps to ensure the welcome of those who disagree with him. Again, those who have problems tend not to be those who can live with others who live in disagreement, rather those who want to project their own opinions on the whole church– namely those parishes in LA who wanted their policies to apply not only to themselves but also to the whole diocese and province.

    I don’t know much about +Persell, but I note that the article you reference does say he had no choice but to strip ordination rites from some conservative priests– who still maintained their respect for him. That is what I mean– when the conservative position necessarily forces its way on the rest of the church but the progressive position makes room for all positions so long as they can live side by side, it seems to me as if the reasonable, loving, and compassionate thing to do for the conservatives is to stand down and dialogue– not draw lines and force a schism. But that is what they are doing in LA and around the country– and that is why I think inclusion is better defined by the definition I gave and not by absolute “let them do anything to us” — which is how most conservatives I have interacted interpret it.

    (Incidentally, Diocese of Dallas is not the same as Diocese of Texas, and Dallas is far more conservative than Diocese of Texas– even recently going “backwards” to allow clergy/parishes who do not believe in ordination of women to have oversight from nearby Ft. Worth).


  9. Jeff Says:

    One more thought on Dio of Dallas… it is my understanding that the Bishop of Dallas wanted to take the diocese the way of Ft. Worth, Quincy, San Joaquin, Pittsburgh, etc., and separate from TEC. They did originally appeal for direct primatial oversight (as opposed to alternative primatial oversight like the others– Bishop Stanton wanted to have a direct line of oversight by Canterbury).

    Anyway – it is my understanding that the standing committee of the diocese overruled him and the request was withdrawn.

    Again, they do not ordain GLBT people either (even more stringently than the dio of TX), but nobody is forcing it on them. While they are much closer to the brink of leaving then Diocese of Texas, they apparently have realized that nobody is forcing them into a position of doctrine. Their bishop, however, was ready to leave anyway.


  10. obadiahslope Says:

    I am going to be terribly simplistic in this post so consider yourself forewarned.
    The progressive side wants a church that fully includes gay people.
    The other side wants a church that teaches that sex outside of hetrosexual marriage is sinful.
    While the progressive side will compromise on allowing some parishes, even dioceses to teach otherwise, the canons will make it difficult for conservative people to take office, requiring swearing loyality to the canons and discipline of TEC which teach an anti-discrimination message. So it is hard to see the conservatives surviving in TEC as a vigorous force.
    What do you think? Lets test it out – prove me wrong!
    So returning to your home diocese LA: will Bruno license new priests (or approve postulants) who are opposed to gay inclusion? That seems to me to be a fairly key issue. I understand that he has been welcoming and pastoral to conservatives, but this issue is at the sharp end. I am not trying a trick question AFAIK, I simply don’t know what +Bruno does.

  11. obadiahslope Says:

    I should add that my family experience has been the reverse of yours. My parents left the Church of England when the Bishop of Southwark refused to allow an evangelical priest to replace another in their local parish. That was decades ago! I would not want to visit those sins on TEC, only to point out that both progressive and conservative people have recieved rough treatment at the hands of anglican/episcoplain dioceses/bishops in my view.

  12. Jeff Says:

    I think there are two different questions at play here- an evangelical viewpoint and affirmation of GLBT people are two different issues, in my opinion. Having said that, I can see how you would relate the two experiences.

    In the short term, I do think that what most ‘progressive’ dioceses are doing is the proper thing: most stories I have heard are those where ‘progressive’ dioceses ordain those who do not agree with GLBT ordination in an effort to be inclusive. This does not go both ways: in ‘conservative’ dioceses (like Texas, Dallas, West Texas, New Mexico– you can pretty much name any diocese in the South, Southwest, or Midwest) GLBT candidates are not ordained.

    In the long term, I do think (and hope) that the position will change as GLBT people are better understood. In my view, in 50-100 years, refusing to ordain someone because they don’t believe in GLBT ordination should be as well understood a part of the gospel of Jesus as refusing to ordain someone who doesn’t believe in the equality of races or genders. It is just a gospel imperative, and at some point the church will place a value on the justice issue over the inclusion issue. We are a ways from there but I believe we will get there.

    Evangelicism vs. anglo-catholicism vs. broad church– while an important topic in Anglicanism– can (at least in my view) hardly be viewed a justice issue. And while I would never say never, I am not sure how it would ever be a justice issue, while I remain staunchly committed to the broad church, inclusive of both the evangelical and anglo-catholic traditions.

    You have raised an interesting point for me, though, which is that I wonder if many evangelicals have begun to think that the lack of acceptance of their views by TEC in any way equates to the persecution we have undergone as GLBT people by the church for hundreds of years?

    I certainly hope not, as we did not choose our orientation and the psychological and spiritual effects of being GLBT in the church are much different than having a diffent theological orientation than the rest of the church. I have both a different sexual and theological orientation from those around me, so I know the difference!


  13. obadiahslope Says:

    I have to say this to you, Jeff. You are both honest and frank. And I appreciate it. Most progressives cover up the fact that they will only tolerate evangelicals for a time until a more thoroughly progressive church decides to chuck us out.
    But ,many evangelicals can see it coming. “What is optional later is made compulsory” is how Richard Neuhaus put it. A parish or diocese may have a local option for gay blessings, later it will become compulsory. And that is logical, where inclusion is seen as a justice issue.
    So in contrast to what you said earlier about only evangelicals or conservatives wishing to impose their views on the whole church, you have made it clear that progressives desire the same thing – only they are prepared to be patient.
    Well, honesty is the only basis for true dialogue, so maybe you and i can
    keep talking!

  14. Jeff Says:

    Well, I see no reason not to be honest.

    And, while I realize I haven’t exactly been concise with the length of my last comment, I still don’t think I am trying to push evangelicals nor anglo-catholics out.

    I know both progressive evangelicals and progressive anglo-catholics who are pro-gay. One’s view of the relevance of Biblical standards vs. Tradition and views of mission, worship, etc. may shape the theology of same-sex orientation but does not necessarily exclude a pro-gay position.

    What I tried to say was that I think being pro-gay is a justice issue and will eventually be viewed as such; I also happen to be for a broad church (inclusive of both evangelicals and anglo-catholics and the via media) but that is not a justice issue, that is simply the Anglican tradition.


  15. Jeff Says:

    One last point at the risk of being verbose again– I don’t think the change I mentioned (the acceptance of GLBT people in mainline Christianity in the next 100 years) is something that will come because I ‘force’ people to take my point of view, or force those who don’t agree with me out of the church. I don’t think that is how it works. I think it will come because it is the genuine movement of the Holy Spirit, and only time will tell for sure as people start to inwardly digest the possibility and consider it in light of the gospel. (Again back to the definition of inclusion and allowing people to enter into dialogue with opposing views and allow change to occur not at my pace but at Gods.) That always leaves the door open to it not happening at all– or happening much faster than I anticipated. It is in God’s hands, not mine, and not anybody elses. That’s the beauty of Communion for me. But if the dialogue is shut down then it is completely in human hands.

    Right now people (conservative people, that is) are in a “I don’t want to change” reflex mode and unable to think in such terms. I believe we’ve already gone through that in the U.S. and in 20 or so years the rest of the Communion will have gone through it as well. The problem is timing. In the big picture, 20, 50, 100 years isn’t really so long for the Spirit to do work– most of the big changes occurred over 20 or 30 year intervals.


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