October 6, 2010

Will We Act with Integrity?

I don’t think there is much enthusiasm in The Episcopal Church for the proposed Anglican covenant. That is not to say that I am certain that the General Convention will reject it. I think, however, that if deputies and bishops vote with integrity, the covenant will indeed be rejected. Alas, our experience in passing B-033 in 2006 is worrisome.

A couple of days ago, Jim Naughton posted an essay on The Lead from Bishop Chris Epting’s blog about the covenant. Epting’s essay elicited quite a number of comments. I was particularly struck by a comment from Jeffrey L. Shy, M.D. He wrote, in part
It [B-033] was coercive and counter to our sense of right from the very beginning, but we adopted it to keep the peace, which end it accomplished not at all. To me, this [the covenant/covenant process] seems just like another big B033, a way of extorting a promise of altered behavior from us. Do we really intend to “stop” doing everything that might upset someone in the Anglican Communion? Is that how we see Jesus command to us? “Verily, verily I say to you, don’t do anything to cause a controversy, but always do whatever keeps everyone from getting upset, no matter whether you believe it to be really right or wrong.” If Paul had taken that choice little piece of advice, I don’t think that the gentile Christian church would even exist today.
If anyone had any doubts about which way our church is headed, no matter what happens in the Anglican Communion, the consecration of Mary Glasspool should have put those doubts to rest. Dr. Shy has asked the right question here: “Do we really intend to ‘stop’ doing everything that might upset someone in the Anglican Communion?” Clearly, the answer to that question is “no.”

Deputies to the 2012 General Convention should follow their consciences, give the covenant a thumbs down, and let the chips fall where they may. We should not even sugar-coat a resolution with statements of how much affection we have for our fellow Anglicans and how much it pains us to cause them distress. They have caused us infinitely more distress. It is time for The Episcopal Church to say, “We’re mad as hell, and we’re not going to take it anymore!”



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4 comments:

  1. amen, LD! For the life of me I don't understand what difference it makes if we are in communion with the ABC... we will still be working with our friends all over the world as the TEC. I asked around in our leadership here if they wanted to discuss the Anglican Covenant, and not one of them has even heard of it. I agree with the comment made - we have no intent to stop progressing as we believe the HS leads us, so why not just say so and let the chips fall??

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  2. "They have caused us infinitely more distress."
    You comment stood out for me. I might have understood it if you had referred to GLBT members of TEC, but I am not sure how you could measure the relative stress of the general membership of provinces of the Anglican communion. I am not sure how useful it would be either.

    John Sandeman

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  3. John,

    I don’t think that anything The Episcopal Church has done has caused much distress—directly, at any rate—to the people in the pews in other Anglican churches. Leaders in some churches—you know who they are—have claimed to be distressed by our actions. Meanwhile, we have suffered not simply mental distress from the actions of some of these Anglican leaders, but significant legal expenses and, potentially, property loses. Churches such as those of Nigeria and Rwanda should be grateful The Episcopal Church has not sued them directly for damages.

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  4. It is a mark of the gap that has opened up between members of the Anglican Communion that you can identify the hurt the TEC feels without acknowledging the existence of the hurt felt on the "other" side.
    In any case the third world leaders (including Akinola from memory) have suggested to the people leaving TEC that they leave the property behind. I suspect you could not cite an example of a third world bishop telling people to take property from TEC but I am very willing to stand corrected -
    The property disputes (and in general I think TEC is legally in the right) are between groups of US citizens.

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