Church Politics and Individual Opinions

Here are a couple posts in blogs of fellow Episcopalians worth reading (I think):
Father Jake Stops the World: A Closer Look at the Attempted Coup
and a response:
Drell’s Descants: A Response to Fr. Jake – A Closer Look at The Attempted Coup
We sit back and watch. Those who are determined to “win” will do whatever is necessary to do just that, even if it means the Church is destroyed or looks nothing like a traditional Anglican church – whether the “who” is either conservative or progressive. It is beyond the Gospel, and those of us who care about this Anglican Way and this Church must call these individuals and their organizations back to the Gospel.

What we are up against…

Bishop Catherine Waynick of Indianapolis sent a pastoral letter to all within her diocese discussing the Covenant Relationship document produced by the House of Bishops. In part of the letter, she relates portions of what Frank Griswold, the Presiding Bishop, said of his experience at the Primates Meeting last month.
Here is a quote:

“He said that several colleagues came to him and asked quiet and sincere questions about the nature of same sex relationships which revealed to him the profound misunderstandings in other parts of the world. Surprisingly, the most vocal outrage was expressed when they were told that in such partnerships either or both of the men actually cooked meals. This revelation was greeted with genuine horror;
men should not cook!”(emphasis mine)
If this is accurate, and the several bishops expressed horror at the thought of men actually cooking, how in the world can we understand the vast differences between our cultures and the effect of those differences on our understanding of what is and is not godly and of God?

Natural Family Manifesto

I read this from the Focus-on-the-Family CITIZENLINK e-mail dated March 16, 2005. The two authors, Dr. Allen Carlson of the Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society and Paul Mero of the
Sutherland Institute argue that the “first chore is to properly define ‘family.'”
Read the description they propose below. The only things that would or could differentiate a straight household from a gay household is that they demand that a family must be defined as a “man and a woman” and procreation. Obviously, a gay “family” must adopt children, but so does a straight “family” comprising an infertile couple. All other aspects described below are absolutely possible whether the family is made up of a straight or gay couple.

“The two are Dr. Allen Carlson of the Howard Center for
Family, Religion and Society and Paul Mero of the
Sutherland Institute. In today’s world, they argue, the
first chore is to properly define “family.”
“(Family is) the union of a man and a woman through
marriage,” Carlson said, “for the purposes of sharing love
and joy, propagating children, providing their moral
education, building a vital home economy, offering
security in times of trouble and binding the generations.”

Covenant Statement

The House of Bishops has issued a “Covenant Statement” after their recent meeting.
I think it is a good statement and good movement forward for the U.S. Church. The suspension of all approval of elections and subsequent consecrations of new bishops until the next General Convention in 2006 in Columbus, Ohio is a strong statement that the Church will honor the Windsor Report by not consecrating new bishops who are openly gay and with partner and also respecting gay and lesbian people by agreeing to not consecrate any new bishops.
I am glad to see, also, that the bishops reaffirmed their dedication to and support of the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral. This is the statement that details the elements Anglicans and the Episcopal Church in the U.S. believe to be necessary for ecumenical relations, including intra-Anglican relations.
It seems that the bishops are taking seriously the need to present to the wider Anglican Communion a strong theological statement, along with biblical justifications, for why the U.S. Church in Convention during 2003 supported the election and subsequent consecration of Bishop Robinson and acknowledged that various diocese and parishes within the U.S. Church are moving forward on blessing same-sex unions. This will be good for all of us!
I have been saying for a while now that the “accommodationist” position is not well stated beyond appeals to emotion and victimization (among many other valid things). Accommodationists need to meet “prohibitionists” on their plain of understanding as much as prohibitionists need to acknowledge and address the justifications and understanding of the accommodationists. We need to talk with each other and strive to understand the position of our “opponents.” Anyway, I look forward to the theological statement coming from the House of Bishops.

Get ready

I am sensing quite strongly a migration that is coming. I just have a sense that there will soon be a large number of American-Evangelicals and Roman Catholics who are fed up with the politicalization of Christianity in this country by the Religious Right who will soon be searching for something else. New churches, and with them new denominations, will arise, I’m sure. Where will these people go?
Considering the demographic trends of young people and what they are looking for in faith/religion/church/spirituality, I am convinced more than ever that Anglicanism is a prime location for them. The liberal-theological bent will not be so attractive, but the sacramental and liturgical aspects, as well as the broadmindedness and openness, of Anglicanism as expressed in the Episcopal Church will be.
We have to be ready, however. I don’t think we are any where near being ready. I want to be about getting ready – doing the work to be ready. I agree with many current observers of all things religious that there is a re-alignment of Christianity in this country and globally. I disagree with some who believe it will be between conservatives and liberals. In this country, I believe it will be between those who have politicized the Church and enmeshed faith with politics, both liberals and conservatives, and those who refuse to be co-opted by a political agenda. Again, I can see American-Evangelicals and Roman Catholics leaving their particular denominations and churches due to the demands of their leaders for adherence to not only dogmatic religious statements, but dogmatic political and social beliefs as well.
Rome is calling on all bishops and priests to demand adherence to Roman Catholic dogma by politicians, academics, and ultimately parishioners, or else they will be denied communion, excommunicated, or silenced. The Episcopal Church is already a repository for disaffected Roman Catholics.
Jim Willis and Sojourners is an example of the side of American-Evangelicalism that is fed up with the Religious Right. A reverse migration of Evangelicals back into the liturgical and sacramental Church began over a decade ago, and I believe it will only increase.
The Episcopal Church and Anglicanism are natural homes for these groups. A good portion of American-Evangelicalism can trace itself back to the good Father John Wesley, an Anglican priest even at his death. The Via Media needs to be reasserted over and against the reactionaries on the both the left and right, conservative and liberal, and the words “Evangelical” and “Anglo-Catholic” need to be rescued from the anti-church reactionaries.
We need to be ready!

One Down

I was supposed to leave today for a second interview with Old St. Paul’s in downtown Baltimore. Great church, great location, and I think very competent new-ish rector. I’ve been told that very few were called for an initial interview, let alone for a second interview. All set, car rented, shirts ironed, bags ready to be packed, and I got a call from the rector yesterday. It seems the search committee decided that they (and he) had found the perfect fit. I will not be going to Baltimore for a second interview. My first rejection on the long path of attempting to secure a ministry position within the Episcopal Church. (Unlike the Roman church, we have too many priests!)
I must say, however, that I had a great interview yesterday. Honestly, I think I would be better suited for the rector I interviewed with yesterday than with the rector of Old St. Paul’s – not that I suspected there might be a mismatch between him and me. There is so much potential for that church and the surrounding area. I pray that the new person is a great asset and the church is a good place for the new person. I am a bit disappointed that I will not be able to interview with the committee. You just never know, as interviewers (I know from experience), what may come through the door next.
It was coincidental that I just had a rash of thoughts concerning the kind of place and/or ministry I would really love to be involved with. Old St. Paul’s could have met some of what I ideally may want, but possibly not. How can I know right now? I can’t, so let me just speculate all over the place.
In the interview yesterday, the rector asked what my ideal ministry situation might look like. Well, I honestly do want to work with young people – college students and the like. Ron, as he was describing what type of ministry each of us exuded around the lunch table a number of weeks ago, referred to me as the “Evangelist.” At the time, that struck me as so strange, but as I think about it and as I interview I do believe he might be right. “Evangelist” would not look quite the same as it does in the Assemblies of God or Chi Alpha, but evangelist nonetheless. I want to be with the people who are outside the church, allow God to use me to draw them, and then be involved in their discipleship.


Someone said the other day that Ohio had the largest number of college/university campus in the country. I know we have a lot, but not the most. Here is how Ohio lines up with some of the other states:
Number of Campuses:
1. California – 399
2. New York – 312
3. Pennsylvania – 256
4. Texas – 201
5. Ohio – 179
6. Illinois – 175
Number of students:
1. California – 2,380,090 students
2. Texas – 1,076,678
3. New York – 1,056,794
4. Florida – 753,554
5. Illinois – 748,444
6. Pennsylvania – 630,299
7. Michigan – 585,998
8. Ohio – 569,223
(Chronical of Higher Education, 2004-2005 academic year)
There you go.

What? Where? When?

We are all in the fray. We are all scrambling to find jobs. I have a second interview for a church in Baltimore next week. Frankly, it is a great opportunity and the rector genuinely seems interested.
I have never had to navigate through this job search thing while also considering another person. It is hard to discern how to proceed, where to look, what to take seriously, etc., when I need to be thinking about Ashton’s ability to move, be, grow, etc., in the place I may go. How long will I need to be at this place before I know whether it could be a good place to stay, and then whether Ashton will want to or can move there, too?
I just don’t know how to do it.

That’s Over

Well, my final interviews before ordination concluded today. I have a psychiatric exam on Sunday, but I really don’t foresee any problems there. Some may hope for the opposite reality, but that’s okay.
Time to right a sermon for tomorrow.