Saturday, May 16, 2009

Listening?

Sudan & TEC & Lauren Stanley

I was dismayed yesterday to read that Sudan’s Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul has “requested that" the Reverend Lauren Stanley "be withdrawn from that mission field permanently.” This is an atrocity.

It has been my privilege to know Lauren over the last three years or so. Missouri established a covenant relationship with Sudan’s Diocese of Lui a couple of years ago, and I became chair of the Companion Diocese Committee shortly thereafter. Lauren has been a wonderful counselor since then – helping me understand the Sudanese culture, providing links, etc.

When I became chair of our Companion Diocese Committee, I had seen Lauren's writings, and I went to her as one who understands “how things are” in Sudan. She was tremendously helpful to me. She knew the Episcopal Church in Sudan very well, having served a long time there as a missionary. [Pictured above are the Rt. Rev. Francis Gray, the Rev. Lauren Stanley, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, at the consecration of St. Matthew's Cathedral in Renk in February 2006. Photo from here.]

She loved the people with whom she served, and it seemed clear that they loved her. [Photo at right from here.]

She also seemed to know Renk’s Bishop Daniel (before he was elected Archbishop) well, having served for some years in his diocese – working closely with him to provide theological education in his diocese. I was happy to be on her listserv group, so I could learn more about her work in Renk. It was clear to me that she had a passion for her service in Renk, and that the Sudanese people loved her. Renk’s bishop Daniel also seemed to recognize and be grateful for her gifts of ministry.

Lauren was a fierce advocate for Sudan and challenged the world (especially Anglicans) to support peace-making in Sudan. Both a journalist and a missionary, she advocated for our need to work for peace in Sudan. She did this as a journalist for the McClatchy newspapers and through Episcopal news outlets. She was a frequent contributor at Episcopal Café's "The Lead" – where she gave us insights into church and politics in Sudan and called us to advocate for peace in that war-torn nation.

When the Diocese of Missouri was to host Sudan’s newly elected Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul, I turned to Lauren Stanley for advice about how to offer appropriate hospitality. People in our diocese went all out to offer him and his wife meals, parties, opportunities for dialogue and preaching, and hospitality. Many of our people did so even while knowing that he was (at least) dubious about gay/lesbian issues. Many of the people who offered him hospitality were LGBTs or allies. We hoped that his heart might be warmed as he got to know us.

Then, during the Lambeth Conference last summer, Archbishop Daniel pulled his publicity stunt, suggesting gay people may not be completely human and saying Bishop Gene Robinson would resign if he were a real Christian. [You can read all I’ve written by clicking on this link.] I wrote about that here , here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. Most movingly, I remember the letter that Anne Kelsey wrote to her aching parish during Lambeth, when Daniel first showed his hate-mongering colors; read it here. Even so long gone, I find solace in her letter while people like Abp Daniel spew hatred and contempt.

After Archbishop Daniel’s media orgy at Lambeth, some parishes in our diocese wanted to back away from our Covenant with the Diocese of Lui. Very many gay men and lesbians showed him extraordinary hospitality when he visited here in the spring of 2008, and many felt he kicked us in the teeth at Lambeth. Yes, I expected him to object to TEC’s acceptance of gay men and lesbians. But he voiced a level of disdain and hate that I never expected.

Many people in my diocese wanted to cut off our ties from Sudan. I argued fiercely that we should not cut off our covenant relationship with the Sudanese Diocese of Lui simply because of the Archbishop's statements. Fortunately, our diocesan convention agreed. In the fall of 2008, our convention passed this resolution:

Be it resolved that this 169th Convention of the Diocese of Missouri affirms its commitment to work toward the inclusion of all the baptized, including gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people, in the whole sacramental life of the Episcopal Church. We also affirm our commitment to strengthening relationships among the Churches of the Anglican Communion, and therefore, despite the sometimes painful differences with Archbishop Daniel of Sudan in our understandings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, resolve to renew and strengthen our relationship with the Diocese of Lui so that each may come to a better understanding of the other.

We have held onto our relationship with Diocese of Lui (in the Episcopal Church of the Sudan), because we know and love those people.

In fact, some of us drew hope from the conversations Abp Daniel had with our missioners last year, when they reported it here, here, and here. I actually drew hope from those conversations. I thought he was speaking honestly. I disagreed with him, but I thought he had integrity.

But now the Archbishop of Sudan has thrown Lauren Stanley out of Sudan because she had the gall to suggest that gay men and lesbians are fully human and faithful Christians. How outrageous, eh? It's pretty clear to many of us that Mary Ailes [sister of the notorious conservative commentator Roger Ailes] alerted Archbishop Daniel that Lauren doesn't hate queers enough to satisfy the Sudanese hatred. Ailes waited several months before dropping that bomb ... God knows why. Of course, Mary Ailes is a member of the breakaway "Anglican" church in northern Virginia. Martyn Minns is her bishop. She shall have her reward. One wonders why Mary Ailes waited these many months before dropping the bomb to Sudan's Archbishop.

Lauren Stanley is not a lesbian herself. She didn’t advocate that the Sudanese open themselves to the ordination of gay/lesbian people. As far as I can tell, her only offense was to argue – several months ago, in the Diocese of Virginia synod – that we treat gay men and lesbians like full human beings.

Apparently, that was enough for the Archbishop of Sudan to insist that she be kicked out of Sudan.

I am livid.

By the bye, the covenant between the Diocese of Missouri and the Diocese of Lui was mutually agreed upon. We developed it after several trips back and forth, and we sent it back and forth between the Diocese of Missouri and the Diocese of Lui. We developed it together after we got to know and respect each other. Neither diocese “inflicted” it upon the other. Our covenant stands in sharp distinction from the so-called “covenant” that is being debated by the Anglican Communion. In fact, I would argue that our covenant – and the process that led to its adoption – should be a model to the dysfunctional Anglican Communion.

In the Anglican Consultative Council that just adjourned, they again called for Anglicans to listen to the experience and witness of gay/lesbian Christians. But the high holy Sudanese Archbishop makes it clear that he will not even listen to straight people who suggest that gay men and lesbians are full human beings. He has made that clear in ejecting Lauren Stanley – a faithful, respectful missioner – from Sudan.

I am disgusted by Archbishop Daniel. I regret the time and energy I spent in making sure he and his wife had a good visit here in 2008. When I look to an image of Christ-like behavior, I see Lauren Stanley – not the Archbishop of Sudan.

Here in the Diocese of Missouri, we have busted our butts to raise money, make visits, and honor our friends in Lui. We have honored their culture. We have maintained that relationship despite the Chief Pharisee of Sudan, Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul.

Right now, I wonder why we bother.

34 Comments:

Blogger Ann said...

Why - because otherwise the bad guys win - you become like them

5/16/2009 10:48 PM  
Blogger Laura Toepfer said...

Why - because that's what Jesus did and what Jesus calls us to do.

I'm very sorry about this, and about the hurt you and others are feeling. I am sorry for the people of Sudan who have lost out because of the Archbishop's actions. Bah.

5/16/2009 10:55 PM  
Blogger Kirkepiscatoid said...

Well, and in a couple of weeks we are hosting the bike riders who are riding through the diocese to raise money for those in Lui to have fresh water. Is this the definition of "mixed emotions?" sigh.

I will be interested in hearing what our Bishop has to say about this. I know when he visited our parish in October, he talked to us in the vestry at great length about his coversaions with the archbishop at Lambeth following his big grandstand. At that time, he certainly felt there was a dialogue and an affinity between the two dioceses.

It is hard to sort out what common ground we have in my mind at this point, but I agree with Ann. We don't want to be "like them." But trying to stay in dialogue with them has to be incredibly hard.

5/17/2009 12:25 AM  
Blogger Jane R said...

His son is a student of ours... Very nice young man. Have hardly seen him this year though (he's not in any of my classes). Met his mother (Abp. Daniel's wife) nearly two years ago when she visited campus.

This makes my heart ache - and I am angry that Lauren, who is so obviously a gifted and devoted missionary, can no longer serve. It's absurd to deprive people of her gifts.

5/17/2009 1:05 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

Yes it is a mess. I do wonder what happens when people become primates. ABp. Daniel of Sudan's actions are so unlike Bp. Daniel of Renk's. And who can forget B033?

It happens here to I fear. Somehow being in-the-club takes precedence over little things like decency and integrity.

I think we have to 'bother' not because we think ABp. Daniel has acted appropriately, not because we endorse his evident homophobia but because behind him are all those people in Sudan who need what we can do. Yes his evident perfidy will inhibit what we can accomplish but their needs will still be there.

FWIW
jimB

5/17/2009 7:14 AM  
Blogger Wormwood's Doxy said...

Lisa--my heart aches for both Lauren Stanley and for you. Not to mention the people of Renk...

I wonder when people like +Deng Bul are finally going to wake up to the fact that they are being played? And I'd love to see Mary Ailes' e-mail trial to the church in Sudan...

5/17/2009 8:31 AM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Thanks to you all. You are right about "why we bother." I know that. And it won't change my commitment to the people of Lui. But, dang! it's hard sometimes.

Now I must get ready for church, see if I can find some repentance for my anger, and pray for +Daniel, for Lauren, and for the people of Sudan.

5/17/2009 8:46 AM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Ditto, Kirkepiscatoid. We're one of the overnight stops for Waters of Hope, too. I'm still glad about the money I've given and the hospitality we'll be offering to the riders.

5/17/2009 8:52 AM  
Blogger Cany said...

This is a case of biting the hand that feeds you.

I find it remarkable, Lisa, that you have had the sheer grace to do what you have despite Bul's lack of grace.

The problem is that he doesn't understand the whole lgbt question at ALL. This is a life choice as far as he is concerned, not being the person God created one as.

I am sorry about this whole thing and certainly it is a terrible move for his own people, something he apparently doesn't really care about.

Christ would suggest one perhaps turn the other cheek. I don't know if I could do that being a mere mortal and in this context, I am not sure that is the correct approach anyway.

Christ died so all could live, but just how many times did he intervene on behalf of sinners?

I more or less view Bul as a Pharisee, but I could settle for pariah.

As Mark Harris wrote, exactly who does this change benefit? Apparently Bul and his small tent Christology.

5/17/2009 2:23 PM  
Blogger David |Dah • veed| said...

From what i picked up at the Orthodite blogs, BabyBlue covered the conversation that took place in VA at the diocesan synod and Rev. Stanley advised the gathering that the Sudanese/Africans did not care about same sex relationships.

This appears to jive with other anecdotal experiences of common folk on the ground meeting other common folk in the Global South. They have more important issues than peering into the bedrooms of other Anglican Christians. But whether this is true, the fatherly archbishop knows what is better for his flock. They must believe as he believes, and he is going to see that they do.

But I have my doubts that the AB of Sudan follows the synod discussions of resolutions in various US dioceses. I think some busybody Orthodite made sure that he was aware of this particular comment, by this particular priest, to achieve just this particular outcome.

But Lisa, you lot are not doing what you do in the Sudan for AB (whole lota) Bul. You do it for the everyday folks who have much more in common with yourselves than the AB. Do not punish your brothers and sisters, whom you have grown to love, for this overblown primates behavior!

5/17/2009 2:35 PM  
Blogger rosaliesgirl said...

I am reminded of other "sub-humans" of the world...dalits from South Asia in particular. The few I have encountered in my life have demonstrated a grace and dignity far beyond the actions of Archbishop Bul.

5/17/2009 4:28 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Cany wrote: “This is a case of biting the hand that feeds you.”
No, I don’t see it that way, Cany. There is no quid pro quo about our work in Sudan. We go there because Christ calls us … and then because we found/made friends in Lui.

Cany wrote: “I find it remarkable, Lisa, that you have had the sheer grace to do what you have despite Bul's lack of grace.”
The people of Missouri do it because we are in relationship with the people of Lui. We’ve been going there since 2003 – even while the civil war was raging. We know them, know their families. We know when their crops are failing. We are in e-mail contact, so we know who is ill, who is struggling. It’s not a “virtual” covenant, but a real relationship.

We have provided many material resources to Lui. We have drilled 7 (or maybe 10 by now – depending on the progress our team finds this week in Lui) deep-water wells. We are paying teachers’ salaries. Sending Lui clergy to seminary in Africa and in the U.S. Funding a chicken farm and now a grinding mill. Sending medical supplies. I believe all that helps the people of Lui. But ya know what? When we go there, we get much more than we receive. Our lives are transformed as we spend time with the individuals and the whole community. I believe we receive more than we give.

Cany wrote: The problem is that he doesn't understand the whole lgbt question at ALL. This is a life choice as far as he is concerned, not being the person God created one as.Yes, I fear you are correct. I suspect he has never talked in-depth with a gay/lesbian Christian. He had that opportunity when he was here with us last spring, but we – being proper Episcopalians – did not want to “force the issue.” At least this lesbian didn’t. I thought it was important for him to get to know me – not to know “a lesbian.” Now, I think perhaps I and our diocese may have blown an opportunity. I dunno. Maybe I was wrong.

Cany wrote: I am sorry about this whole thing and certainly it is a terrible move for his own people, something he apparently doesn't really care about.Based on my time with Abp Daniel, I would say he most certainly does care about his people. He is working very hard to bring aid into Sudan. He is working hard to be sure another civil war doesn’t erupt.
But, unfortunately, he is willing to reject Americans whose views don’t align perfectly with his own. I find that very sad. … Yeah, when I wrote last night, I was mostly angry. I still have a measure of anger, but it’s mixed now with sadness.

He makes it pretty clear that I would not be welcome to return to Sudan, and that makes me very sad.

Cany wrote: Christ would suggest one perhaps turn the other cheek. I don't know if I could do that being a mere mortal and in this context, I am not sure that is the correct approach anyway.I understand your ambivalence, Cany. I struggle with the same thing.

Cany wrote: I more or less view Bul as a Pharisee, but I could settle for pariah.You’ve seen what I wrote. I won’t presume to know +Daniel’s heart.
He was the Bishop of Renk for many years when Lauren Stanley worked in his diocese, worked alongside him. He knew her well, and he was happy to have her teach seminarians in the Renk Bible College during those many years. Why he would choose this time to expel her is probably known only to him and God … or maybe by him and the so-called Global South Primates.

Cany wrote: As Mark Harris wrote, exactly who does this change benefit? Apparently Bul and his small tent Christology.Right on, Cany. Mark asks the critical question.
The students at Renk Bible College are now without a teacher.
What has +Daniel gained? I don’t know, though I can hazard a guess that relates to “Global South politics” in the Anglican Communion.
What have the people of Renk gained? Nothing, as far as I can see. They had a faithful friend and teacher, who has now been kicked out.
I see nothing good from his ouster of Lauren Stanley.

I am sorry my response has run so long, but you raised important points and asked good questions.

5/17/2009 4:39 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

David |Dah • veed|, if you read BabyBlue’s supposed “transcript,” please remember that all bloggers have their own perspectives and biases. I could have live-blogged our diocesan convention, and would have summarized and characterized the comments of those “across the aisle.” That would not necessarily constitute a faithful transcript of the comments. Consider the source, my friend.

David |Dah • veed| wrote: This appears to jive with other anecdotal experiences of common folk on the ground meeting other common folk in the Global South. They have more important issues than peering into the bedrooms of other Anglican Christians.Exactly so. The Rev. Stanley supposedly said that Sudanese/Africans do not care about same sex relationships. Here’s what I know from my work in Lui: The laity there don’t care a fig what’s going on in the bedrooms of Christians in the U.S. They have much more pressing concerns – especially the desperate need for safe drinking water, food, basic health care, and education. When I was there, I did perplex them, because I didn’t look like a conventional American woman. But my sex life (or lack thereof) wasn’t the issue. Mostly, they were puzzled that any woman of my age would be unmarried. Sexual orientation wasn’t their question. They just wondered how a woman could survive without a husband.

David |Dah • veed| wrote: But whether this is true, the fatherly archbishop knows what is better for his flock. They must believe as he believes, and he is going to see that they do.
Yes. And he is willing to get rid of a fine teacher and friend. Lauren was loved by her students and the community in Renk. That does not matter to the Archbishop of Sudan.

David |Dah • veed| wrote: But I have my doubts that the AB of Sudan follows the synod discussions of resolutions in various US dioceses. I think some busybody Orthodite made sure that he was aware of this particular comment, by this particular priest, to achieve just this particular outcome.
Yes, I suspect you are correct. More’s the pity. And she shall have her reward.

David |Dah • veed| wrote: But Lisa, you lot are not doing what you do in the Sudan for AB (whole lota) Bul. You do it for the everyday folks who have much more in common with yourselves than the AB. Do not punish your brothers and sisters, whom you have grown to love, for this overblown primates behavior!
Wise counsel, my friend. Last night, I was tempted to blow the whole damn thing up. Today, you friends have helped me remember what is truly important. For me, it’s the people of Lui who are important. No matter what the Abp of Sudan says or does. As long as we can stay in relationship with the people of Lui, I want to remain so.

5/17/2009 5:03 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Rosaliesgirl, please say more about this. I'm not sure what you mean.

5/17/2009 5:07 PM  
Blogger DavidH said...

Ms. Fox, after reading this, I re-read the Sudanese statement during Lambeth to make sure I knew what it said. You describe it inaccurately when you say it "suggest[ed] gay people may not be completely human." Putting the statement and your blog columns side-by-side makes clear that the Archbishop is not the one showing "hate-mongering colors" and "spew[ing] hatred and contempt."

And if you really think that's what the Sudanese statement was, then there's no hope of understanding, despite the covenant between dioceses.

5/17/2009 5:56 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

DavidH, don’t just read the press accounts. View Archbishop Daniel’s entire press conference. There is a sad set of exchanges. He says that gay men and lesbians cannot possibly be ordained. Then a journalist asks, “Do you ordain women in Sudan?” He replies with a jaunty laugh: “Yes. Of course – because they’re human.” The contrast is clear for those with ears to hear and eyes to see.

Please explain that away, David.

5/17/2009 6:34 PM  
Blogger DavidH said...

Ms. Fox, because I take your comment and this seriously, I just listened to the entirety of the Archbishop's press conference from the Episcopal Church site. I have no agenda in explaining anything away. I think, however, that you're making a serious mistake in getting outraged about the negative implication of a remark on another issue by a person whose English (although certainly better than any foreign language I speak) is clearly a struggle at times. I think that's particularly true given that the Archbishop said the exact opposite of the sentiment you're attributing to him much earlier in the press conference while directly addressing the homosexuality issue -- namely, that +Robinson is a human being and that the Archbishop had no intention of throwing anyone away.

5/17/2009 8:22 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Good try, DavidH. I've spent time with Archbishop Daniel. His English language skills are impressive. Are you trying to tell me he didn't know what he was saying?

5/17/2009 8:33 PM  
Blogger Caminante said...

"I do wonder what happens when people become primates."

Some, but not all, lose their spine. Some, like AB Barahona of IARCA, get stronger and more prophetic in time.

I am very sorry that Lauren got ousted -- she spoke passionately at the global mission conference last June about her work in Sudan.

Vermont has a strong Sudanese population; the Diocese of Vermont has walked with many of them as they settled in Burlington. After AB Bul's comments at Lambeth, we also went through the same questioning whether or not to continue and decided that the on-the-ground relationships were important and we would do our utmost to maintain them. (N.B., Vermont does not have a formal companion relationship with Sudan but our bishop spent a bit of time there with Bp Deng.)

5/17/2009 10:07 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

This is comforting, Caminante. Thank you for that word from another diocese that had to make this difficult decision.

5/17/2009 10:38 PM  
Blogger Lindy said...

DavidH,

I don't understand how anyone could NOT be outraged.

Linda Diane McMillan

5/17/2009 11:45 PM  
Blogger rosaliesgirl said...

Lisa Fox said...
Rosaliesgirl, please say more about this. I'm not sure what you mean.

Being a lesbian in a conservative community, I am treated as "sub-human" (a la AB Bul's comments) quite frequently. However, I'm white, middle class, got a good job and can pass for straight when I want to. I am most inspired by those whose experiences of oppression box them in more than mine does me.

I've met several people labeled as "dalit" or "untouchable" in the South Asian caste system. The grace it takes to live within such a system with dignity takes much more strenth and determination than speaking the words of condemnation that seem to fall so effortlessly from some church leaders' mouths.

Part of me continues to ponder what the deal is with so much of what I hear from the Global South. My own experience of living and working in countries outside the USA seems similar to what others here have mentioned...no one who is concerned about clean drnking water and adequate sanitation is really concerned about anything going on in the USA or elsewhere. They just want to make sure they can feed their kids and keep them from harm. Is all this really a matter of a few bullies in the church, who seem to need all the money, power and control they can stuff in their pockets?

5/18/2009 12:46 AM  
Blogger Mary Sue said...

I bet you $5 +Bul doesn't have to worry about where he's going to get water, or whether it will make him sick.

I bet you another $5 that a goodly portion of his flock does worry about that, every single day, and doesn't have time to worry about LGBT issues.

Let me know where to send my check so we can get those people some water, yo. Queer money buys water, just like straight money.

5/18/2009 11:52 AM  
Blogger Laura Toepfer said...

Hmm...my comment sounded more Polly Pious than I intended.

5/19/2009 9:40 AM  
Blogger Joanna Depue said...

Lisa - You're angry and hurt, as well you should be. Each of us who has - whether rarely or all too often - been caught in the crosshairs of discrimination, prejudice, meanspiritedness or other semi-disguised form of fear or hatred throws up hands in frustration. I chime in with the gaggle of your allies, friends and companions in the way and say 'don't let the bad guys win'. You and your colleagues are aiming not at those oblivious to their needs but to those all too aware of that fact they need help, water, peace, love. Don't be distracted by the voices of dissent ... listen to the voice of Christ coming from the people of Lui. Lauren, who has a mission beyond that which can be defined by a Bishop, will have a window of ministry opened for her. Believe it!

5/19/2009 3:34 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Thank you for elaborating, Rosaliesgirl. I get it now.

You are right: There are so many people who suffer so much more than I.

And, like you, my experience in Lui makes me doubt that they give a fig about the issues that have now obsessed the Archbishop of Sudan.

5/19/2009 7:53 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Mary Sue, I can't take you up on your bet, for I suspect you are correct.

And I especially love your statement: Queer money buys water, just like straight money.

A great many queers in the Diocese of Missouri have given money, time, energy, and much, much more. Will the Abp of Sudan forbid people from drinking the water from wells that are "tainted" by LGBT donations? Surely not!

Will he next refuse to be in relationship with the Diocese of Missouri because a lesbian chairs the Companion Diocese Relationship Ctte? I certainly hope not. But I now wonder. He could do that. And if he did, I would resign gracefully. ... This hits very close to home for me.

5/19/2009 7:59 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

No, Laura! Your earlier comment didn't sound at all Pollyanish or pious to me. You and most others have buoyed me that we must remain in relationship with Lui, no matter what +Daniel says or does.

5/19/2009 8:01 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Thanks, Joanna. Yes, that's what I'm hearing from all fronts, and I'm grateful for those who have reminded me of what is most important. The people of Lui are most important. Abp Daniel does not matter.

5/19/2009 8:03 PM  
Blogger mibi52 said...

I was present at the diocesan council in Virginia and heard the discussion which precipitated Lauren's expulsion from Sudan. If I may, I would like to add just a little nuance to what happened there.

There was a proposal for a resolution on the floor regarding acknowledgement and acceptance of LGBT folks and of committed relationships between LGBT folks. One delegate - who has worked hard in the development of the relationship between Sudan and Virginia - was opposed to the resolution, fearing that it could cause harm to Virginia's long-standing relationship with Sudan,given statements such as +Daniel's comments at Lambeth. Lauren rose and spoke in support of the resolution, saying that while full inclusion of LGBT Christians was an issue that continued to be of concern to the bishops (and Archbishop) in Sudan, it was not of concern to the people of Sudan, for whom the needs for safety, peace, food, and freedom to worship were paramount. No more. No less. She reminded the people in the room that the focus of the church should turn from the bishops to the people.

Lauren Stanley has served as a missioner in Sudan at great personal risk. Her loss to that mission field is a tragedy. Her work has always been about the people rather than the hierarchy. Does she speak her mind? Yes, because the people she serves need for her to advocate for them. Is she sometimes blunt in her language? Yes, because truth is not always elegant. Has she been consistent in her behavior and in her statement of opinions? Yes. Her remarks in Reston in January 2009 were consistent with other statements she has made in the past.

So why has she been expelled at this point, when who she is and how she does her work has not changed?

The conclusion I come to is that it is not Lauren who has changed. It is the politics of the church in some segments of Africa in the wake of GAFCON and Lambeth. People in power (whether in church or parliament) make political choices and harden in their convictions because it is in their interest to do so. And dramatic gestures get attention.

The saddest part of this is that the people who benefit from Lauren's expulsion seem to have forgotten the people who benefitted from Lauren's ministry. Not the ones who get to go to Lambeth. The ones who suffer in Renk. It is disheartening.

5/19/2009 9:53 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Thank you for this, mibi52. I appreciate all you have said.

And I suspect you are right, that it's +Daniel who has changed. Lauren has not.

Lord, have mercy.

5/19/2009 10:02 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5/20/2009 12:37 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Lisa,

Like you I have spent time with ABp Daniel. In fact until this came along, I thought I knew him. I am increasingly convinced that friends don't let friends become primates!

I simply can not let the people of Renk suffer for their leadership. So if there is a way, I hope and pray all the diocese with companion relationships in Sudan will continue.

I am not praise God, a leader or chair of anything in Chicago. So I have a bit less potential sacrifice looming. It is horrible to see when it impacts as good a servant leader as you or Rev. Lauren

I grieve for you and for Rev. Lauren.

FWIW
jimB

5/20/2009 12:40 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Fear not, Jim. As long as this lesbian chairs the otherwise-all-straight Companion Diocese Committee in the Diocese of Missouri, I will NOT let my baser, angry instincts rule. I will fight tooth and claw for the people in Lui. Absolutely NO question about that! None whatsoever.

Of course, last week, I asked why I or we should keep working so hard. That was only "natural," given what +Daniel did. But Christ brings us beyond our natural instincts.

In my heart, I knew what many of you wrote here: I and we do it because the Gospel of Jesus Christ commands it. And we do it because we have come to treasure the people of Lui. No matter how big a jerk the Archbishop of the Sudan may seem to bek, no matter how stupid his actions may seem, no matter whether he aligns himself with the Pharisees. I cannot imagine anything he might say or do that would make me cut out my brothers and sisters in Lui.

On a lighter note, I love your aphorism: "Friends don't let friends become primates! This should become an Anglican t-shirt slogan. LOL!

About every four months, +Daniel or others manage to say or do things that make me want to quit. So far, I have always managed to bounce back -- remembering the people of Lui and discounting the asshats like +Daniel. We shall see how long I remain in my position. Perhaps Daniel will next call for my ouster. It wouldn't surprise me. 'Til then, I'll continue to work here for the people of Lui.

Please send your most fervent prayers for the Rev. Lauren Stanley. Since I'm merely a lowly layperson, they really can't touch me. But the conservative blogs are savaging Lauren with all manner of innuendoes and outright lies. Please keep her in your prayers.

5/20/2009 7:52 PM  

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