Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The Formerly Secret Panel

Out of the Closet

It's mighty hard to keep a secret, and certainly in a church as small as ours. I'm rather surprised this one survived for almost a month.

I now have the names of the two co-facilitators of the panel put together by the House of Bishops Theology Committee, as well as the names of six of the eight panel members. One panel member and a chair had already been identified, as noted in the item I posted by Louie Crew.

You probably remember the background. In early June, Bishop Henry Nutt Parsley (chair of the House of Bishops Theology Committee) appointed a secret panel to prepare a paper on same-sex relationships in the life of the church. Many websites and blogs (including mine here) expressed outrage that Bishop Parsley refused to name the members of the panel. He claimed secrecy was necessary to support the theologians' "collegiality and academic freedom."

So here are eight of the ten theologians serving on the panel to study same-sex relationships.

Co-facilitators:

  • The Rt. Rev. Joe G. Burnett, Bishop of Nebraska (webpage here)
  • Ellen Charry, Princeton Theological Seminary (webpage here)

Members:

  • Deirdre J. Good, General Theological Seminary (webpage here)
  • Willis Jenkins, Yale Divinity School (webpage here)
  • The Rev. Grant LeMarquand, Trinity School for Ministry (webpage here)
  • Eugene Rogers, University of North Carolina, Greensboro (webpage here)
  • The Rev. George Sumner, Wycliffe College, Toronto (webpage here)
  • The Rev. Daniel A. Westberg of Nashotah House (webpage here; see page 3 of the newsletter)

Mind you, it was Bishop Parsley's decision to keep their identities secret. My beef was always with him – not with the members of the panel. In some ways, his tactics seemed to give them an unwarranted importance. After all, all they're doing is writing a report. They are not trying to put out a consensus document. They do not intend to propose "a way forward." They are simply charged to make theological statements – one pro and one con – about same-sex relationships in the life of our church.

Let's all keep them in our prayers.

66 Comments:

Blogger Cranmer49 said...

Nice work getting the names out in the light, Lisa.

I still think the whole thing is a big waste of time and one more stalling tactic of the HoB.

7/01/2009 1:47 PM  
Blogger Ann said...

ditto Cranmer49

7/01/2009 1:51 PM  
Blogger Caminante said...

And given at least one of the names on the panel, there definitely will be a contra-blessings stance.

Why can't the church just say, we are going forward with this and stop playing around?

7/01/2009 2:48 PM  
Blogger Leonardo Ricardo said...

I think it has the look of ++Rowan wiggleprints all over it.

7/01/2009 2:53 PM  
Blogger Dennis said...

Very good job, Lisa. Thank you for bringing the names to light.

7/01/2009 4:05 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Brava. And, ditto Cranmer49 and Ann

7/01/2009 5:17 PM  
Blogger Grandmère Mimi said...

A real scoop, Lisa. Good work.

7/01/2009 5:20 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Congrats on the reporting. One can only hope a particular bishop is really ticked. Now if only we can find the other two!

FWIW
jimB

7/01/2009 8:35 PM  
Blogger Marialinda said...

Well. It appears that this committee so far displays an all too common bias in our Episcopal Church, in that not one of the named members hails from west of the Rockies, or from Hawai'i or Alaska or Puerto Rico.
The committee also appears already biased toward a negative attitude to full inclusion and full blessing.
What a waste of time and energy.

7/01/2009 8:42 PM  
Blogger it's margaret said...

Good work Lisa. Airing it out.

They will be in my prayers.

7/01/2009 8:49 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Let me say "Amen!" to Cranmer49 (followed by Ann & Elizabeth) who said: "I still think the whole thing is a big waste of time and one more stalling tactic of the HoB." I concur completely; I have not moved an inch from the outrage I expressed here. Because Bishop Parsley has called for them to issue their reports in 2011, I believe it is a manipulative stalling tactic engineered by Bishop Parsley in an effort to tie the hands of the Deputies in Anaheim. I hope you all don't fall for it.

7/01/2009 8:58 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Caminante, I can't find the quotation at the moment, but Bishop Parsley made it clear that the committee would not issue a unified report, but two papers: one for and one against same-sex relationships.

You asked: "Why can't the church just say, we are going forward with this and stop playing around?" I heartily agree. We've been studying this matter for more than three decades. Papers have been produced. Books have been written. As a church, we are at an impasse. I think it's time to fish or cut bait, and I hope the Deputies will say "Enough already!" in Anaheim.

7/01/2009 9:04 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

I disagree, Leonardo. I see no evidence that +Rowan had anything to do with this formerly-secret panel.

7/01/2009 9:05 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Marialinda, you're right about the geographic distribution. All but the co-facilitator, Bishop Burnett, are within an easy drive to the Atlantic Ocean. Reckon God quit speaking to Episcopalians west of the Appalachians? {grin}

You wrote: "The committee also appears already biased toward a negative attitude to full inclusion and full blessing."
I don't know these people well. But remember: From the start, it was expected that they would not produce a unified paper, but two papers -- one in support of same-sex Christian relationships in our church, and one opposed to them. From what I read, consensus within the panel was never expected.

7/01/2009 9:13 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

And thanks to all of you for your kind words about my posting these names. I don't know how Bishop Parsley may react, but I believe light is better than darkness. Obviously, he did not.

7/01/2009 9:15 PM  
Blogger Mike in Texas said...

Well done, Lisa

7/01/2009 9:33 PM  
Blogger SCG said...

Good work, but really--one pro and one con paper about same-sex relationships?? Are they serious? Gee, how "Middle School Writing Assignment" can you get?!?!
My prayers are for the whole lot that will be in Anaheim. It's simple: grow up!

7/01/2009 10:08 PM  
Blogger IT said...

The report from SanDiego's recent report comprises both pro and con views, in a point-counterpoint format. But they are in a single report. The committee came to a series of resolutions by consensus. More here.

Which leads me to say, haven't we don't this already? Do we really need another one? ;-)

7/01/2009 10:18 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Yep, SCG, that's the plan: they are to spend from now until 2011 writing two conflicting papers. You're right: it is indeed a waste, after 30 (or 40) years of theologizing on this point. But that's the charge Bishop Parsley gave them: not to arrive at consensus, but to offer "pro" and "con" papers. That's going to help us a lot, isn't it?

7/01/2009 10:24 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

IT, my answers to your two questions are "Yes" and "No."

I see absolutely no benefit in what Parsley is doing. Therefore, I assume he is doing something sneaky -- namely, to drag this whole thing out as long as he possibly can. I hope GC09 calls the question.

A little background: Parsley was one of the finalists for the office of Presiding Bishop in 2006. He tried to present himself as the "middle path." Whenever I get frustrated by Katharine Jefferts-Schori (and that is often), I remind myself how very, very much worse it could have been.

7/01/2009 10:32 PM  
Blogger Göran Koch-Swahne said...

Brava!

Extreemely well done, Lisa!
Out in the open.

7/02/2009 12:31 AM  
Blogger Tom Sramek, Jr. said...

And what I've said would happen when the names were released is already happening--people are assuming and prejudging the content of a report before it is even written. Though I do wonder what one more paper can do.

7/02/2009 1:11 AM  
Blogger MarkBrunson said...

And what I've said would happen when the names were released is already happening--people are assuming and prejudging the content of a report before it is even written.

Which was being done before the names were released and would've been done if the names had never been released. There was never any good purpose served by the secrecy, nor was any good purpose to be served by killing more trees to allow "theologians" to feel as if they actually do something.

7/02/2009 2:18 AM  
Blogger Wormwood's Doxy said...

I believe that Deirdre Good is a partnered lesbian. She teaches at General Theological Seminary in NY. When I first saw her name, I thought "Well, that's good then!" And then I thought "Why would anyone with good sense want to participate in this sham?"

I'm still wondering about that...

Pax,
Doxy

7/02/2009 8:55 AM  
Blogger Grandmère Mimi said...

And I'm wondering why the participants would consent to the secrecy?

7/02/2009 9:11 AM  
OpenID orderofsantaignora said...

I'm wondering why they're burying us in a mountain of paper.

I was born in California, I've lived my whole life in California and Oregon, with frequent forays and visits to the East Coast and the Southern states. Frequent enough to know-- well, y'all think just a little bit differently than us out here. Especially about church.

The question that I would like to pose to the panel and Bp. Parsley is what in the name of God, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and all the little fuzzy saints in Heaven do they think is good Gospel news about their little committee and their little report?

Because from where I'm sittin' in my little pew in a little church in a little city where 1 in 5 children go hungry every day and 80% of the people walking by are unchurched, I see no good Gospel news in their endeavor, for me in the pew or those people on the street.

(I don't see much good Gospel news in General Convention, neither, though. Too much talkin', not enough workin'.)

7/02/2009 9:17 AM  
Blogger Lindy said...

Excellent work Lisa! Brava, and thank you.

I do think the committee members should have outed themselves. That would have resolved this weeks ago and stripped Paisley of his false importance.

7/02/2009 10:57 AM  
Blogger Pfalz prophet said...

Well done, Lisa, thank you for correcting an error in good governance, not to mention good judgement.

Now that ten of the twelve have been called out of the closet, what about the other two? Are they relieved to find themselves still secreted? Anxious that they may be out-ed at any moment? In a snit, perhaps, that they were excluded! In the interest of fairness, will they announce themselves, or will Bp. Parsley now publish the entire panel? Were they all supportive of his initial efforts at concealment?

And pray for dear Bp. Parsley. Brilliant, thoughtful, a wonderful leader in a very difficult culture in which to be a moderate leader. But, no wonder the Spirit didn't move to have him elected PB! Secret committees, indeed! Are we to be treated like children?

7/02/2009 11:48 AM  
Blogger Bob G+ said...

I guess I'm going to be a counter point to all the happiness. I’m not going to be very popular. So, now that these people have been "outed," let all the lobbying, lambasting, wooing, threatening, and everything else begin. When, I wonder, are they going to be able to have the quiet reflection and discussion needed for THEOLOGIANS (not politicians, not social workers, not public policy advocates, not pastors) to do their work?

We really do have to stop acting like our current political culture (or is this just generational behavior?). Let them do their work in peace and let them do what theologians do to formulate a theological report, and then we all can have at it. As a gay priest, I want the best theological work possible, period, even if I disagree with the outcome; else I’m just another ideologue.

I hope we don't try to demand an already determined outcome before the work actually begins. If we do, we are not seeking truth but only affirmation for what we have already determined to believe. That is the difference between theological work and advocacy work. For the time being, can we just leave them alone?

7/02/2009 1:05 PM  
Blogger Grandmère Mimi said...

Bob G, it was the secrecy, not the revelation of the names on the committee, that caused the fuss. They would not be quite so much in the spotlight had the entire enterprise been open and transparent from the start.

7/02/2009 1:12 PM  
Blogger Wormwood's Doxy said...

BobG+--plenty of theologians have already done this work (including Tobias Haller+, who participates regularly in the blogosphere), and this group didn't need to be locked up in a closet to do it.

The bottom line for me is that this committee is not necessary and is insulting to GLBT Episcopalians and those of us who love them.

The theological work has been done many times---all one has to do is read it, assuming that one is truly interested in the issue of which of the baptized should have access to the sacraments of the church.

This committee will produce nothing new and the whole situation appears to have been designed as a way to give the Bishops cover to keep their spot at the Lambeth tea party. The secrecy just added insult to injury.

Doxy

7/02/2009 1:34 PM  
Blogger Bob G+ said...

Grandmère Mimi - I understand that the secrecy is what bothers so many people, but this is supposed to be theological work and not policy work. I also know that on both sides of the theo-political divide that now there will be all kinds of pressure being applied to these people to try to make sure the "right" outcome is reached.

I don't blame them for wanting some anonymity before "all hell breaks loose" (and it will) and before the pressure ofrom special interest groups begins (and it will).

7/02/2009 1:47 PM  
Blogger Ann said...

They don't have to answer the phone and can delete emails -- what other pressure do you assume? Pickets ala the Phelps family? I think any theology done in isolation is not good theology.

7/02/2009 1:53 PM  
Blogger Bob G+ said...

Wormwood's Doxy - (In case this comes across otherwise, I'm quite calm as I write.)

Yes, I know Tobias and his work, but as smart as he is and as much as he adds to the conversation, he is not a theologian charged with doing what these people are charged to do. I've also read a good amount of what is supposed to pass for solid, rigorous theological work and find it lacking (even though I generally agree with the ultimate conclusions). Disagree with me if you will, but that's my opinion.

And to be clear, I'm a gay man and I'm not offended or insulted one bit (nor are any of the other gay people I know) - why would I be? I'm not a victim and honestly I don't like people trying to make me into one! It is a theological commission charged with study and the writing a report, not a policy making or implementing commission. Please understand that there is a huge difference between the two.

7/02/2009 2:01 PM  
Blogger Grandmère Mimi said...

Bob G., my complaints about the secrecy of the membership of the sub-committee had nothing to do with viewing gay folks as victims. It's simply that I much prefer openness and transparency in knowing who is doing what in the official business of the church. After all, we Episcopalians pay the expenses of the committee to do their work.

I have no problem with their deliberations being confidential until the reports are issued. However, I can't drum up much sympathy for them because they might get a few emails or phone calls. If they can't stand that "heat", they should decline the offer to be on the committee.

7/02/2009 2:20 PM  
Blogger Bob G+ said...

I agree, doing theology in isolation is not good, but they would not be doing that - you know that Ann. Isolation is not a synonym for anonymity. See, I told you I wouldn't be popular. :-)

And yes, there will be pressure applied. Should you have to delete e-mails or not answer the phone because I start pressuring/lobbing you to think like I do? No, of course not.

These are academics - let them do what academics do and let the policy wonks deal with governance issues and let conservative and liberal fundamentalists tear into each other when its done.

7/02/2009 2:27 PM  
Blogger Bob G+ said...

There is developing among a whole cadre of Episcopalians this sensed need and understanding that these issues need to be dealt with far differently than we have been over the last couple of decades, particularly these past few years.

As a new way develops, those with vested interests in maintaining the status quo methodology will be not be happy (liberals or conservatives). Perhaps this is a generational thing, a Postmodernist vs. Modernist thing, I don't know.

While much has been gained by the hard work and sacrifice of many, our culture has changed and the same old tactics now prove to be less and less effective. As a matter of fact, they end up simply tearing apart rather than building up.

Hope everyone has a wonderful 4th of July.

7/02/2009 2:38 PM  
Blogger Wormwood's Doxy said...

BobG+--ultimately, I have to wonder, just who is this theology FOR?

In my experience, what changes people's minds about GLBTs in the church is KNOWING them. Call it "incarnational theology," if you will.

I don't think I've ever met *anyone* who has changed his or her mind about full inclusion for gays and lesbians from reading a report written by a committee. YMMV.

The way to get to know people is to welcome them in. We don't need another bunch of academics writing yet another report on GLBTs to do that. Just throw the damned door open and let's get on with welcoming people into relationship with Christ. Let's feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick, and love and worship God together. At the end of the day, that's the only "theology" that really matters. Jesus said so, and I believe him.

Pax,
Doxy

7/02/2009 2:41 PM  
Blogger IT said...

You're not a victim? Try getting married or blessed in a church.

7/02/2009 3:03 PM  
Blogger IT said...

O/T

Due to a last-minute change in the schedule for GC, the meetup time for the followers of Fr jake have changed. The revised plan (still on July 10th):
I. Meetup begins at the No-host bar/reception, promenade, outside the Pacific Ballroom, Hilton Hotel, 6.00. (If you get there early, check the Atrium bar in the hotel lobby)

II. Join at the Integrity Eucharist, Pacific Ballroom, Hilton Hotel, 7.30.

III. After the Eucharist: Bar Louie in the Anaheim Garden Walk, 321 Katella Ave.


More info at Friends go to Anaheim

7/02/2009 3:03 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

I think you know that my “day job” prohibits my being here during the workday. You all have offered many thoughtful comments today, but I couldn’t log on until this evening. I’m going to post several comments and responses here. I urge you to continue the dialogue. Thank goodness, I am now looking at three whole days away from the office.

Several other fine Episcopal and Anglican blogs have now picked up on this story, and a couple of questions have been raised. Let me say a couple of things up front.

First, let me reiterate this: My main objection was to +Parsley’s making this group a super-duper secret panel. By his secrecy, +Parsley created intrigue and elevated their supposed importance. Further, secrecy is just not the way we do things in TEC or in the Anglican Communion. Think back just a few years. The names of the Windsor group were published way up front … and certainly they could have been vulnerable to lobbying. The names of every search committee (in parishes, dioceses, and even for the PB of TEC) are posted immediately – generally with their contact information. So far as I can recall, this is the first committee in the history of TEC whose members’ names have been kept secret. That is what ticked me off.

And it is entirely the fault of Bishop Parsley. There is no indication that the theologians themselves asked for this “cloak of invisibility.” It was +Parsley. For reasons I cannot imagine. Please do not blame the theologians who agreed to serve on the panel.

Second, I have not lifted a finger nor made a sound to suggest what the theologians should say or do. I am happy to let them work in peace, and I hope everyone else will do the same. We all know what the arguments are. We have been at this so long that I suspect most of us could articulate the arguments of “the opposing camp.” There is no reason to harass the panel, and I hope people will leave them alone. Theirs will be a report (or reports) to stack on top of the many other reports and statements that have been offered on this subject.

Let us support them with our prayers – not badger them with e-mails or other communications.

7/02/2009 9:40 PM  
Blogger Thomas B. Woodward said...

I wish I could be more confident about some on this committee. When one claims The Anglican Church Institute on his resume - a group that must be reeling after being found out time after time for its distorted and wrongheaded history and theology -- we know we are not going to get much probity.

A question I would raise is this: is there anything to suggest from this group that anything at all new might be contributed to what we already know?

Lastly, way to go, Lisa!!!

7/02/2009 9:41 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Tom Sramek, Jr. wrote: And what I've said would happen when the names were released is already happening--people are assuming and prejudging the content of a report before it is even written.

Tom , where are you seeing/hearing people making assumptions and prejudgments? I’ve been all over the blogosphere since I posted this story, and I haven’t seen any indication people are doing so. On the sites that have linked to my story, I can’t find anyone who is advocating any sort of contact with the theologians. Perhaps you’re hearing something different, and I would like to know what and where. If people are trying to harass the theological panel, I will be very disappointed.

Let me stress again what I posted: This panel is not being asked to chart “a way forward.” They are being asked to present the “pro” and “con” cases regarding same-sex relationships in the life of our church. Bishop Parsley did not expect them to reach any consensus, nor do I. As I understand it, they are going to present a paper (or papers) that lay out the theological arguments on each side. That is all.

I think that’s a pointless exercise and a waste of time and energy, for we have heard the arguments on each side again and again ad nauseum. I will be amazed if they come up with anything new after the 30 (or 40) years that this issue has been before the church. But I am willing to be surprised. In fact, I would be delighted.

7/02/2009 9:44 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Grandmère Mimi wrote: And I'm wondering why the participants would consent to the secrecy?

Grandmère, don’t assume they consented or even knew about the “secrecy” that +Parsley would mandate.

7/02/2009 9:45 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

orderofsantaignora, you’ll get no argument from me. While people are suffering, a certain bishop in Alabama thinks that killing a few more trees with a theological tome will somehow change things. I suspect he is wrong. I suspect no minds or hearts will be changed.

As I have written before, I am particularly suspicious that he gave them until 2011 to submit their report(s). That makes me believe he wants the power to veto anything the House of Deputies may do in our upcoming General Convention. And that ticks me off more than I dare express here.

Do note this: This story has now been all over the U.S. Episcopalian blogosphere. And Bishop Henry Nutt Parsley has said not one word. Perhaps his patronus is a groundhog.

7/02/2009 9:47 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Lindy wrote: I do think the committee members should have outed themselves. That would have resolved this weeks ago and stripped Paisley of his false importance.
Lindy, please be gentle with them. I do not believe this “secrecy” travesty is their fault.

7/02/2009 9:49 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Pfalz prophet, it remains to be seen what the other two members will do.

And, yes, it does seem that Bishop Parsley wants to treat us like children. Thank God he was not elected Presiding Bishop!

7/02/2009 9:49 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Bob G+, I see your comments, and I share some of your concerns. Let's talk.

You wrote: I guess I'm going to be a counter point to all the happiness. I’m not going to be very popular. So, now that these people have been "outed," let all the lobbying, lambasting, wooing, threatening, and everything else begin. When, I wonder, are they going to be able to have the quiet reflection and discussion needed for THEOLOGIANS (not politicians, not social workers, not public policy advocates, not pastors) to do their work?
I ask you the same question I asked Tom above: Where are you seeing/hearing people “lobbying, lambasting, wooing, threatening, and everything else”? Denizen of the blogosphere that I am, I have yet to see any such attempts.

Groups charged with difficult tasks should be given space to work, reflect, converse, and maneuver. No doubt about that! Here in my diocese, our GC deputies have a group e-mail address. People can send e-messages to it. An administrator reads the e-mails. I suspect she forwards the substantive ones and weeds out the cranks and nut-jobs – or at least I hope she does. Something similar could be arranged for the Theology Committee’s panel. … But I come back to this: If a group as purportedly important as the Windsor Group was named its members in public from the beginning, why did Bishop Parsley attempt to hide the identities of the members of this panel??? As I wrote above: So far as I can recall, this is the first committee in the history of TEC whose members’ names have been kept secret. Why???

Bob G+, I completely agree the theological panel should be allowed to do its work in peace. No lobbying. No sniping. No arm-twisting. I hope that’s how it will happen. Yes, I will be happy to leave them alone. But remember this: +Parsley didn’t ask them to come up with a cohesive “way forward.” We have been told that they will present to our church two opposing views – one “pro” and one “con” about the place of LGBTs in our church. No one should expect a resolution from this committee’s deliberations.

7/02/2009 9:52 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Amen, Grandmère. It’s the secrecy that was the issue. Bishop Parsley was wrong from the get-go in that, and I hope his colleagues in the House of Bishops will have some words with him about it. Without his skullduggery, this would have been a non-story.

7/02/2009 9:53 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Doxy wrote: plenty of theologians have already done this work (including Tobias Haller+, who participates regularly in the blogosphere), and this group didn't need to be locked up in a closet to do it. . . . This committee will produce nothing new and the whole situation appears to have been designed as a way to give the Bishops cover to keep their spot at the Lambeth tea party. The secrecy just added insult to injury.
Amen, my sistuh!

7/02/2009 9:54 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Bob G+ wrote: I don't blame them for wanting some anonymity before "all hell breaks loose" (and it will) and before the pressure ofrom [sic] special interest groups begins (and it will).

Bob, where are you seeing that pressure and “all hell breaking loose?” I’ve looked for it, and I cannot find it. It seems that most people are ignoring this story.

Bloggers on my side of the fence are sharing the names of the theologians’ panel, but I am not seeing any energy about trying to contact the panel members. Where are you seeing it?

In fact, I’m bemused by the fact that the most prominent “conservative” blogs (T19, SFiF, VOL, etc.) haven’t even run this story.

It seems to me that – so far – all things are being done decently and in order. Where are you getting the sense that the theologians are under assault?

7/02/2009 9:55 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Bob G+ wrote: There is developing among a whole cadre of Episcopalians this sensed need and understanding that these issues need to be dealt with far differently than we have been over the last couple of decades, particularly these past few years.

HUMBUG! All I have asked – ever since Parsley announced his appointment of the super-duper secret panel – is for the same level of openness that has characterized every other committee, panel, or working group that I can remember being created in the Episcopal Church. No special favors. No special treatment. Just the "openness and transparency" that the Episcopal Church sometimes claims.

7/02/2009 9:57 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Doxy wins my prize for Wise Words of the Day when she wrote above:

BobG+--ultimately, I have to wonder, just who is this theology FOR?
In my experience, what changes people's minds about GLBTs in the church is KNOWING them. Call it "incarnational theology," if you will.
I don't think I've ever met *anyone* who has changed his or her mind about full inclusion for gays and lesbians from reading a report written by a committee. YMMV.


Yep. And amen.

7/02/2009 9:59 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Thanks, Tom Woodward.

I’m with you about Sumner. When I see he’s in the same college to which Radner and Seitz (the remaining rump of the Anglican Communion Institute) fled after the Don Armstrong fiasco … it makes me wonder. But there are 10 members of the panel. And they’re merely writing a paper (or papers).

I fervently hope we won’t make this paper the kind of idol that the Windsor Report has become in the view of some. They’re going to reflect and theologize … and that’s all to the good. The report will not be like the tablets Moses brought down off the mountain. We will – and must – critique them.

You wrote: A question I would raise is this: is there anything to suggest from this group that anything at all new might be contributed to what we already know?
No, I don’t expect so. The arguments from Scripture, tradition, and reason have been made … time and again … from both sides. With my “hermeneutic of suspicion” engaged, I suspect Bishop Parsley has his own ends in mind. I will be delighted if this panel surprises me.

7/02/2009 10:56 PM  
Blogger MarkBrunson said...

If they are "just academics," what the hell good is their work on this?

It's been studied. If this is not for policy formation, the work is unimportant. If it is for policy formation, then the theoretical study is unimportant.

7/02/2009 11:35 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Mark, I know you are angry. So am I (about some things). But I would not blow these people off as "just academics." I have great respect for the serious theologians in our church.

I doubt that Parsley's panel is going to make any difference, after all the studies that have been offered. But I don't want to "blow off" these individuals.

7/03/2009 12:02 AM  
Blogger Lapinbizarre said...

Fantastic work, Lisa. Thanks. Thanks also for the ordination photographs in the adjacent post. I often attended service at the cathedral years back. Nice to be reminded.

7/03/2009 5:14 AM  
Blogger Christopher said...

Fr. Bob,

The problem is that secrecy smacks of this panel itself being put together precisely for political purposes all their own, i.e., that which you seem to deplore in those who "lobby." The fact that this was thrown together right before GC with suggestion that nothing be done until 2011 is itself very political. The way we do things matters. The way this has been done thus far is itself conflictual.

We went this route (i.e., secrecy in relation to a committee on matters lgbt) once before as Fr. Jones at Anglican Centrist points out. Further, given the history of secrecy in relation to many lgbt persons, it becomes even more problematic and conflictual.

I don't mind panels being put together to discuss theology, in this case, moral'ascetical theology. Other churches, the ELCA and the ACoC come to mind as examples in which similar committees have been put together, offered a paper or papers. And all in the open. If the thought was to recreate something of the Medieval mode of debate at university, great. But this is precisely not what this looks like and even worse, when the first leak of names comes from one side, it suggests again a political, even partisan, motivation.

I do further mind assertions (even seemingnly form the PB) that this is done so for academic purposes (this is precisely the opposite of how the academy runs in regard to scholarship). I do mind secrecy in a Church and tradition where secrecy has been misused time and again to abuse fellow human beings, and not just lgbt persons, but children, teens, and First Nations peoples.

I would add that those of us of that generation you speak deplore lack of transparency, which the way in which this has been gone about is an example. No, we would like to see a way to do theology on important matters that isn't partisan or lobbyist, and yes, transparency is required to do so if it is to be toward Truth. Otherwise, such processes invite conflict and rebuke. Averseness to conflict at all when things are being done in a way that is non-transparent and seemingly for reasons more than theology is not healthy either.

7/03/2009 10:51 AM  
Blogger MarkBrunson said...

Yes, Lisa, I understand, and that's why I qualified in what instances they are useful or useless.

They are useless if this is to actually accomplish anything. The groundwork has been laid. The studies have been done.

FWIW, my anger isn't with them, but with progressives who just seem to think this is perfectly acceptable to have us discussed, as long as it's done by academics. It's still ivory tower nonsense, whether the names in in Ph.D., or D. D.

7/03/2009 10:49 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Lapinbizarre, I didn't realize you'd spent time here. Glad you enjoyed the ordination photos. It was a grand day.

7/03/2009 11:05 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Christopher, you are always so articulate and care-ful in your writing. Thanks for teasing out more about my concerns about the secrecy. I am grateful.

7/03/2009 11:06 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Mark, thanks for clarifying.

Mind you, I take back nothing from my earlier post. The fact that +Parsley and the HoB have given these people a "due date" of 2011 still has me rip-snortin' ... for all the reasons I articulated before.

I certainly am not one of those "progressives who just seem to think this is perfectly acceptable to have us discussed, as long as it's done by academics." If I said anything that left doubt, let me be clear.

I believe +Parsley was dead wrong to try to make the committee composition a secret. And I hold the entire House of Bishops complicit in letting him set a "due date" of 2011.

7/03/2009 11:22 PM  
Blogger MarkBrunson said...

Oh, I know, Lisa, that you aren't among those!

One of the reasons I enjoy reading your stuff and talking with you is that you and I, whether it's a tendency to look deeply at situations or sheer bloody-mindedness, tend not to completely "buy into" either side of the issue.

7/03/2009 11:47 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Thanks, Mark. I take that as a great compliment. And ditto back to you.

7/04/2009 12:07 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Those of us in Fort Worth, Quincy, San Joaquin, and Pittsburgh have already seen, as you say, "all hell break loose." Maybe it is time to move on. The former bishops of these four dioceses were ready to use any and every excuse to leave the Episcopal Church. Now that they are out of the Episcopal Church, the Episcopalians in those dioceses are free to FINALLY be Episcopalians. Please do not ever think that it would be better to prolong the agony of those who wish to remain in The Episcopal Church (but live in places where the bishop is hostile towards the Episcopal Church) by not making a decision on this. Get it over with and let's move on, not matter what we choose as a church.

Making or not making a decision did not keep those four dioceses from attempting to leave with the buildings and the silver. The only way "out" (no pun intended) is through.

7/04/2009 3:04 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Sarah, it took me a while to understand the context of your comment. Now I see you are referring to Bob G's comment (7/2 @ 1:47p) and mine (7/2 @ 9:55p).

Let me quickly agree with what I think you are saying: Our "gracious restraint" in B033 at GC06 did not slow down the schismatics one whit. They had a playbook, and nothing we did could have diverted them from their course.

So ... if you're saying: "Let's get on with it in GC09. Let's rip the bandaid quickly instead of slowly and painfully," then I heartily agree. It's time for TEC to be who we are. Those who plan to leave won't be dissuaded or slowed if we temporize.

Am I understanding you correctly?

7/06/2009 8:22 PM  

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