Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Think before you speak...

When I was a kid, my mom would often say, "Think before you speak." I don't need to elaborate on why this momism is as true as any proverb out of the Bible. We have all failed to abide by this, and we have all tasted the bottom of our foot at least once--tastes like chicken, aeh...

Our new Primate, ++Katharine has done this in a remarkable way. I hope she just wasn't thinking. I hope she didn't really mean it, otherwise we are in for a rough ride...

Check out the "foot-in-mouth show" here.

In the midst of the storm...

In recent weeks, a lot of flack has been produced from both the conservative and liberal wings of the Episcopal Church in regards to its future. One of the louder voices at the moment comes from of all places, Pittsburg and its unfortunately misguided bishop, Bob Duncan. The rethoric has been more pointed--if you can believe it could get any worse--since the investiture of our new Primate. But most of the material in this propoganda war has come from talking-heads or thinktanks on either side. Because of this, the material always has more than the normal amount of spin. I have been keeping an eye out for average folks, 'on the ground' at it were, who can speak to the issue from a little less of a partisan perspective. Here is some interesting commentary by a fellow in the diocese of Pittsburg. Read it here.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Demonstrating leadership

As many of you know, I was concerned when Bishop Katharine was elected as the first female Primate of the Episcopal Church. My main objection was her lack of parish experience. However, since her election, she has continued to delight me with her willingness to lead rather than be indecisive. Below is a recent letter sent to the Bishop of San Joaquin. I might not always agree with her theology, but I am glad to see we have a person carrying the primatial cross who is not afraid to lead. Read the letter and then check out more info about ++Katharine here...

To: The Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield
Diocese of San Joaquin

My dear brother:

I have seen reports of your letter to parishes in the Diocese of San Joaquin, which apparently urges delegates to your upcoming Diocesan Convention to take action to leave the Episcopal Church. I would ask you to confirm the accuracy of those reports. If true, you must be aware that such action would likely be seen as a violation of your ordination vows to "uphold the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as this Church has received them." I must strongly urge you to consider the consequences of such action, not only for yourself but especially for all of the Episcopalians under your pastoral charge and care.

I certainly understand that you personally disagree with decisions by General Conventions over the past 30 and more years. You have, however, taken vows three times over that period to uphold the "doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Episcopal Church." If you now feel that you can no longer do so, the more honorable course would be to renounce your orders in this Church and seek a home elsewhere. Your public assertion that your duty is to violate those vows puts many, many people at hazard of profound spiritual violence. I urge you, as a pastor, to consider that hazard with the utmost gravity.

As you contemplate this action I would also remind you of the trust which you and I both hold for those who have come before and those who will come after us. None of us has received the property held by the Church today to use as we will. We have received it as stewards, for those who enjoy it today and those who will be blessed by the ministry its use will permit in the future. Our forebears did not build churches or give memorials with the intent that they be removed from the Episcopal Church. Nor did our forebears give liberally to fund endowments with the intent that they be consumed by litigation.

The Church will endure whatever decision you make in San Joaquin. The people who are its members, however, will suffer in the midst of this conflict, and probably suffer unnecessarily. Jesus calls us to take up our crosses daily, but not in the service of division and antagonism. He calls us to take up our crosses in his service of reconciling the world to God. Would that you might lead the people of San Joaquin toward decisions that build up the Body, that bring abundant life to those within and beyond our Church, that restore us to oneness.
I stand ready for conversation and reconciliation. May God bless your deliberation.

I remain
Your servant in Christ,