FROM MY EAR TO YOURS...
By David W. Virtue
COLUMBUS, OH (6/20/2006)
One rumor has it that there is going to be a three-year moratorium on consecrating gay bishops. It's designed as a sop to the global South, and conveniently would not come due for review till after Lambeth 2008.
From the Dean of the Cathedral in Omaha, the Very Rev. Edward Hurley, was overheard to say while we were in line waiting at a hearing that "we had a wonderful discussion with the Bishop of Botswana. In that discussion the bishop mentioned that everyone in Africa is not of one mind on the issues that have captured the American Church. He also mentioned that the church in Botswana must deal so seriously with other pressing issues such as hunger and HIV/AIDS that much of the American issues cannot even be considered."
Word on the street has it that Presiding Bishop-elect Jefferts Schori might advocate for moving the Episcopal Church's national headquarters from New York City to the Midwest. This will certainly appease westerners, who currently have only till midday to make calls to Frank to get the latest pluriform word.
At this writing, it seems the great calls to "clarity" that has been much ballyhooed here at General Convention have been inadvertently and unintentionally answered by General Convention. On Sunday we had the election of liberal, pro-gay, progressive, radical feminist presiding bishop - someone who seems sure to continue the new Episcopal religion. And today the House of Deputies rejected a call for moratoria on consecrating gay bishops and blessing same-sex unions. Within an hour of that decision, the deputies approved the election of a thrice-married, twice-divorced cleric, married to a divorced woman, as the Bishop of Northern California.
We were told today at a press briefing that the House of Bishops is FOUR DAYS behind, and it appears that the House of Deputies is in the same situation. Strangely, it seems that this convention has had less legislation to deal with but has taken longer to deal with it, mainly because it seems to get bogged down in language games or parliamentary process at almost every turn. One conservative leader thought things would go more smoothly, if only the body was committed to Christian principles. If only.
No one wants to repent for breaking the much ballyhooed "bonds of affection." What is going on is more like bondage to verbiage. The House of Deputies approved an expression of regret "for straining the bonds of affection" not BREAKING the bonds. The reason? There was too much gay pain being expressed by supporters of the pansexual agenda who felt constrained to cry every time they got near a microphone. Passage of resolutions by manipulation was the order of the day, plus a lot of stories about feelings of alleged abuse, homophobia and a whole pantheon of cry baby liberals who just have to FEEL wanted and loved by absolutely everybody...and woe unto you if you don't. Gay and lesbian affirmation is everywhere.
The illustrious bishops and deputies could not decide on whether to support biblical literacy, the fear being, that if Episcopalians actually read the Bible and knew what it said, they might just use Scripture to over turn the pansexual agenda of the church and its current trajectory towards self annihilation.
The liberals are touting and pushing, with great energy, the Millennium Development Goals of the church as the way to produce the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. Bishop Michael Curry (North Carolina) said, "this must be our common ground." Of course it won't succeed, but it is giving liberals a way to deflect from the real issues and the fact that the church is heading with gadarene speed towards the abyss, with Louie and Ernest, Vicky and Mark holding hands, gripping Viagra and miters, with new inclusive liturgies clutched fervently in hands, praying to the new found trinity of peace, love and justice.
In the opening prayer in the House of Deputies by the Rev. Matthew Gunther, rector of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Wheaton, Illinois we were told, "Enable us to grow up..." but we are not quite sure who exactly this was being directed to. Gays grow up? God forbid. It must be directed to the dwindling orthodox forces that have yet to see the light.
A cartoon on the Opinion page of the Columbus Dispatch shows two men holding hands. A man and a woman passing by say simply EPISCOPALIANS! Enough said. (Cartoonist - Stahler of the Columbus Dispatch, 2006)
Canon David Anderson of the American Anglican Council made an interesting observation at a luncheon the other day. He said we could give the talking points for each side, but there does come a point that we need to cut to the chase. "We have done enough talking lets move to action." Perhaps the Diocese of Ft. Worth will lead the way.
I was surprised to hear the Bishop of the Convocation of the American Churches in Europe Pierre Whalon, make the observation that the Episcopal Church is a global church and needs convince ONLY the Arch of Canterbury. That's not true, the Episcopal Church is also answerable to the 37 other Primates, and they can suggest the Archbishop of Canterbury get tough.
It was positively blood letting in the House of Deputies yesterday on procedural issues when it came to extending debating times on Resolution 162 and the Windsor Report. The anger and frustration was palpable. The House took ten minutes getting an extension of 15 minutes' debate time. Said one wag; "they are living into process". To cool them down, George Werner, president of the HOD called for prayers. Amen..
Said Canon Anderson, (AAC) statistically for the church to change direction and reaffirm the tenets of the Christian Faith it would be on the order of the parting the Red Sea. Statistically it is not likely to happen.
Had a chat with Ed Little Bishop of Northern Indiana who had an interesting take on the Title IV canons (which will not be passed here at GC2006 because of time restraints) on the issue of the inclusion of the discipline of the laity. He said it had nothing to do with trying to toss out of the church specific orthodox laity who don't agree with their bishop; rather it relates to a situation in which, say, a treasurer refused to write out a salary check to his priest for whatever reason and the bishop needs to step in. "We, as bishops have very little power when that kind of thing happens." Bishop Little was very clear that this was more an administrative canon and not one designed to blast laity with whom bishops do not agree out of the church. Yeah, right.
WORD out of the DIOCESE OF CONNECTICUT is that the diocese has spent in excess of $500,000 on legal fees fighting the "Connecticut Six"...and the fight is not over, not by a long shot. The final figure could well run over $1 million.
There is more conservative media here at General Convention than liberal. The print media, both US and UK, are mostly liberal but they seem to have an understanding of the issues and what drives the pansexualists on one side and the orthodox on the other. The bloggers, some 22 are, for the most part, conservative. One is Ctsix.org, a blog that follows the liberal and conservative news in Connecticut, but has since widened its operations and coverage. Their video activity is drawing some 20,000 viewers a day, unheard of a few years ago, and they interviewed two members of my team here at General Convention. You cans see their interview online at the Ctsix.org website.
Father Sam Edwards, former President of Forward in Faith, North America, was a prophet when he opined after GC2003 that the acronym ECUSA translates now as the: "Elegant Cult of Universal Sexual Affirmation."
An Anglo-Catholic priest here at the convention told me he was kept up all night with nightmare of his four-year old daughter baptizing the family bitch in the backyard with the garden hose, and the terrifying realization that she (the dog) would now be eligible for every aspect of ministry in the ECUSA, including Presiding Bishop.
SEEN in the hallways of convention giving a bear hug to Colin Coward of Changing Attitudes, a British Anglican sodomite organization, was Kenneth Kearon, secretary general of the Anglican Consultative Council. Now would Kearon be seen bear hugging Bishop Keith Ackerman? Don't count on it. We know where the true heart of the ACC is regarding homosexuality. Despite all the talk of "listening", "conversation", the Episcopal Church, they know, pays the bills and you never bite the hand that feeds you.
One wag noted that the study of invertebrates makes Bishop Schori supremely qualified to rule the ECUSA. She's studied oysters and squids...this is a mental picture that I really did not need. Is this a case of 'squid pro quo'?
Do you suspect that ECUSA elected an oceanographer as its primate in recognition that it is floundering?
IT IS being circulated that one of the other reasons Jefferts Schori won over Parsley (95 to 82 in the fifth round) is that she is a lot nicer and smoother than he is. The Bishop of Alabama has a bad habit of head banging his orthodox clergy. He has threatened the three largest parishes in his diocese and regularly brushed up against the highly orthodox then-Dean of the Cathedral, Dr. Paul Zahl, intimidating him and making his life difficult. The bishops know this and so she beat him out. He also said he would never allow the Anglican Communion Network or the AAC in his diocese, a position that Canon David Anderson called "intimidating." It was Parsley who sent the "deep throat" emissary to the Plano conference in Dallas.
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