31 August 2007

Mitred scofflaws

Some of the so-called Global South primates are astounding. They claim that ECUSA has departed from church tradition, imperiling the unity of the church. And then, in a departure from church tradition, they proceed to create four parallel Anglican jurisdictions in the US. I'm not counting the alphabet soup of "continuing" churches that aren't really in communion with anyone else. Now we have Rwanda, Nigeria, Kenya, and we're on the eve of a Ugandan bishop operating in the US. I would expect the Southern Cone to join the crowd any day now.

OK, so I can kind of understand the idea of providing pastoral support for conservatives, if it were true that there is inadequate care from ECUSA. But why do we need so many bishops of so many persuasions? How does that manifest of the truth of Jesus Christ's one church?

And then there's +Drexel Gomez. His time as chair of the Covenant Design Group should be over now. Neither +Katherine Jefferts Schori (as primate of the province at the center of the controversy) nor a public dissenter should be responsible for finding the common covenant that will re-unite the Communion. By his participation in the recent consecrations in Nairobi, +Gomez has shown that he does not believe reconciliation is possible. Fine. But he shouldn't carry on the charade by participating in initiatives aimed on bringing the Communion back together. For a long time, I celebrated +Rowan William's choice to invite +Gomez to chair the CDG, believing that it would help one more primate see the big picture. Sadly, that seems to have failed.

And what of +Bob Duncan and +Jack Iker? They have clearly just violated their ordination vows to uphold the discipline of the church. Our canons (and by "our," I include +Duncan and +Iker for now) clearly do not provide for parallel jurisdictions.

Since the Windsor Report was published, progressives have not consecrated openly GLBT bishops, and we have not authorized rites for same-sex blessings. Those were the requests of the Report. Meanwhile, the conservatives have pursued a relentless agenda of division, dissent, and destruction. I respect their difference of opinion, but I do not respect the duplicitous participation in the very institutions they seek to undermine.

+Duncan and +Iker should resign as ECUSA bishops. +Gomez should resign from the CDG. And some of this lot should not be surprised when they are not invited to Lambeth.

Inclusive means that everyone is welcome. But inclusive does not mean that every kind of illicit behavior is allowed. Make no mistake: any ECUSA cleric who participated in the Nairobi consecrations was engaged in canonically illicit behavior.

I do not want a homogeneous church, in terms of theology or sexuality, or anything else. I would gladly worship and serve with conservatives of very different theological convictions from my own. But the day they stop believing in the possibility of grace in the Episcopal Church is the day they should leave. The same goes for liberals, by the way. If I ever began to pursue an agenda to destroy the Episcopal Church, someone should suggest that I find another home. Let's hope the "Windsor Bishops" hold their colleagues accountable to the vows they've all taken.

(See also what Mark Harris and Greg Jones have to say about this.)

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