February 18, 2007

Last Minute Thoughts on Consents

It was with a great sense of relief last night that I posted my essay on the recent letter from the Standing Committee of the Diocese of South Carolina, “The Consents Question, Again.” I spent a long time writing the post, mostly because I had to track down so much material on the Web for the “Background” section. After making some minor edits to correct problems found by a couple of friends, I’m going to leave the post alone, but I do have a couple of thoughts I want to add.

The South Carolinians asked that standing committees that have voted to withhold consent for Mark Lawrence’s consecration reconsider their vote. I suggest that standing committees that have given consent also reconsider. Resistance to granting consent is clearly strong, a fact that should give standing committee members pause. Votes that have gone against Lawrence were not cast frivolously. I hope that my review of material on the Bishop-elect of South Carolina will facilitate the evaluation of Mark Lawrence’s case, from whatever standpoint.

Tobias Haller, whose thoughtful blog is called “In a Godward Direction,” has offered an observation on item (a) in the South Carolina letter. He points out that, in the securities world, “investors are advised that ‘past performance is no guarantee of future performance.’” In the economy, of course, nothing is ever static, so one should never count on all things being equal. The Episcopal Church doesn’t look too predictable either. In any case, as Tobias points out, ordination vows “aren’t about the past or the present, but the future.”

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