Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Hypocrisy of It All

Much news has been flying about the Anglican blogosphere in the last three weeks, and I have had neither energy nor heart to comment on most of it. I have made many notes to myself about things I might or could write about. Tonight, this one has bubbled to the surface.

Like many others, I continue to wonder why "some of" the primates and related bloviators in the Anglican Communion continue to hammer away at the Episcopal Church. I would like to think it is, as they tell us, all about the "authority of Scripture" or the "faith once delivered to the saints" or whatever is the justification du jour. But I just cannot continue to entertain that fantasy.

Yes, the Episcopal Church ordained a godly, partnered gay man as a bishop. Yes, we ordain gay men and lesbians to the diaconate and priesthood. And, yes, there are priests in our church who will officiate at the blessing of a commitment between two men or two women. And we have gazillions of faithful gay men and lesbians exercising gazillions of ministries in our church.

But we are not alone. Heck! We're not even out front. In the Anglican churches of England and Canada (and perhaps others), priests are officiating at "weddings" and official, state-sanctioned "civil unions." Our very own Archbishop of Canterbury acknowledged (before his spinectomy) he had knowingly ordained gay men to the priesthood. And – according to all I hear – there are plenty of gay men and lesbians in the episcopate, and not just in the U.S.; it's just that none of them has the honesty and integrity that Bishop Robinson has. (And more's the pity!)

All of that is old, wearying news.

In an article headlined "Williams tells US Church to get a move on with reforms," Church Times merely adds another angle:
Changing Attitude Scotland added a new dimension to the debate in pointing out that, on the day the Tanzania communiqué was issued, the Church of Sweden had agreed rites of same-sex blessing.

“The Church of Sweden is in full communion with the Scottish Episcopal Church. Through its own synodical processes, the Church of Sweden has now agreed a text for the blessing of gay people,” a statement said on Tuesday.

“We note that there has been no condemnation of the actions of the Swedish Church from the Anglican Primates during this extensive process, nor from any of the bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church. We are glad that this is so, and recognise that this illustrates very clearly that the actions of the Primates towards the Episcopal Church in the US are primarily political rather than theological.”
That really is it, isn't it? It is not theological. It is not ecclesiological. It is not soteriological. It is not christological. It is not about any of those church-related "-ologies." It is political. It is merely and simply political. Other Anglican churches have gone further than we have, more often than we have. But the financial and political pressure is coming from within the U.S., and its aim is to destroy the Episcopal Church. Jim Naughton and Matthew Thompson [God bless 'em!] have documented this cabal quite adequately.

If it were about the authority of Scripture or theology or ecclesiology or soteriology or Christology … then we would hear +Bob Pittsburgh and Akinola and the AAC and the NACDP and all the other alphabet-soup splinter groups decrying the "heresy" and "apostasy" of other churches that are (for now) in the Anglican Communion. But we do not. Why not? Because they are liars and hypocrites.

Therefore, I wonder why any of our bishops or our Presiding Bishop or anyone else in our church continues to take seriously – much less wrestle with – the Tanzania communiqué or the Windsor Report or any of the other statements and demands that have been issued. This. Will. Not. Stop. If we "fast" or "pause," they will only concoct another attack against us. Then, if they can destroy the voice and witness of the Episcopal Church, they will go after the Anglicans in England and Canada and Scotland and Ireland and Wales and New Zealand and South Africa …. It will not end. But with the U.S. church out of the way, it will be a helluva lot easier for them to destroy the voices of the real Anglicans in the rest of the world.

Yes, let us Episcopalians pause for a moment to remember who we are and whose we are. Let us heed Bishop Jefferts Schori's call for non-anxious reflection. Then let us humbly and hopefully get on about the business of being who we are, rather than being the "people of the lie."


Blogger Cranmer49 said...

You've nailed it, Lisa. Perhaps issues are more theological at the local level, but there's no question that at the diocesan and provincial levels, the fight (and that's what it is) is totally political. It has absolutely nothing to do with the love of Jesus Christ or with feeding the hungry, visiting the prisoner, and clothing the naked.It's a power struggle and a numbers game (how many bishops can Akinola ordain before Lambeth?). I think the tone of your remarks here is really quite polite and honest. Nice job. Maybe "liars and hypocrites" isn't polite, but it's surely honest. And being honest seems to be what is at the crux of the whole sexuality issue. We all know +VGR is not the only gay bishop; he's just the only honest gay bishop. The duncanites and akinolites are indeed liars and hypocrites. Thank you for naming them.

3/10/2007 10:42 PM  
Blogger Ann said...

Truth is IMO - Rowan Williams hates the US - sees us as rebel colonials who need to be reprimanded and brought into line even if this destroys the Anglican ethos.

3/10/2007 11:36 PM  
Blogger Nina said...

You've got it!
How I wish this were not the case.

3/11/2007 3:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"not theological, but political" As the great sage Homer would say - D'oh!

I'm all for calling their bluff. Do nada. Just sit on the communique until 2009 and the proper venue for dealing with same. Lambeth tossing TEC doesn't have squat to do with the legal issues of "who owns the church property". Proceed with actions necessary to protect church property for remnant congregations. Depose bishops who attempt to lead out dioceses - they have no legal standing if no longer bishop in TEC. Don't worry about the possibility of the alphabet soup getting recognition as "the" Anglican Church in the US - the local and foriegn bishops will never be able to agree on leadership. Anyway, the alphabets are mission-sized, not Church-sized.

For missions/ financial assistance, deal with individual Churches, not "The Communion". +++Whomever (the office, not RW in particular) doesn't have the power to prevent two Churches from talking with each other and undertaking projects.


3/11/2007 8:25 PM  

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