Saturday, July 11, 2009

Dragging and Listening

The legislative "stuff" continues to move at a snail's pace. We are a little behind where we should be right now, but it will catch up.
On the 2nd try our deputies (826 of them) finally were able to use electronic "doo-hickeys" to vote in an election process. I am so proud of them! If you want to be a little afraid for the future of our church, watch the House of Deputies struggle to press a button and hit send - it's very, very scary. I was on the floor this afternoon, so I saw it with my own eyes! Way to go HoD!
Yesterday and today the "Committee of the Whole" spent time listening, first one-on-one with people near our tables, and later via a lottery that selected who could speak for 2 minutes each, to opinions regarding B033 from 2006 - the last minute resolution passed to uphold a moratorium on approving any more gay bishops (the wording is different - but that's what it was about). Soon the committee responsible for that issue (World Mission) will craft a resolution for us to deal with legislatively on the floor. Should be fun!
Like many here, I am truly torn over what to do with this. I worry if we remove the moratorium we will be asked out of the Anglican Communion - a real fear. Or at least put on some sort of 2nd level group. Also, should we remove the moratorium, are we missing a chance to continue to witness and listen and debate and learn from each other on both sides of the issue? Jesus talked a lot about unity - how far are we willing to go? But at what price to go there?
The Archbishop of Canterbury, before his Bible study mediation (which ROCKED by the way, see David Johnson's comments here), basically asked us to be patient. He said the communion really needed us and valued us, but warned us against going too far, so that our voice would be left outside the circle.
That's the balance - between asking a certain group of our church to continue to be treated as if they were NOT also baptized, and asking the communion to keep us in the fold if we do lift the moratorium. It's really hard work, and I am in constant prayer about how to respond. It will be an interesting convention.
Meanwhile - WHAT ABOUT GROWING THE CHURCH? I am sad to report that the only committee that has completed its work is the Evangelism committee. What does that say about what we value, what we want to put time and money into? They have some pretty interesting resolutions coming to the floor soon, and hopefully they will capture the attention of the house and the resources they need, but please people - we HAVE to turn this ship around! Instead we spend an hour arguing the syntax of a resolution designed to keep some committees afloat that, in my opinion, have little to do with what a church should be focusing on.
The truth is, GC is a huge bureaucracy. The President of the HoD bragged we were the 2nd largest bicameral legislative body in the world. We should be embarrassed about that, not proud of it! And it feeds itself. All the resolutions passed must be responded to by Executive Council or by various CCABs (Commissions, Committees, Agencies, and Boards). When you suggest to a CCAB member that they need to cut their expenses and maybe use electronic means of communicating on a regular basis, they are (some are) appalled. "How can we do our work that way"? they ask. I think the better question is - what is your work? Why are you doing it? Is it really necessary to upholding the gospel and growing the church and serving the local parishes? If not, let's quit doing it!
And how do you get on a CCAB? Most are appointed by the President of the HoD or by Executive Council. Appointment implies you are someone who can take off work and travel a few times a year, some more than others. Doesn't that limit the voices we need on these things?
Why don't we change GC so that this self preservation can cease and desist and we can get mean and lean at a national level, supporting the dioceses and parishes in their mission work? Well, I guess you would have to be on the Commission on Structure or something like that to have a shot at changing any thing. Something tells me an appointment is not forth coming!
OK, enough soap box for one night. More soon. Be sure to go to and check out other links, news items, etc. We have a long way to go, and we need all your prayers.

1 comment:

Lynne said...

David, I'm so glad that we have folks like you wrestling with these issues. I'm so tired of hearing on the news that Episcopalians are talking about sexuality issues. I agree they are important but so is the mission of the church. We are getting lost from that while we mortals try to decide who is worthy. Let's come to God's table as one. That's my soap box.