Wednesday, January 10, 2007

More on the Panel of Reference

I think I've been around long enough to recognize a wolf in sheep's clothing. And that's exactly what the Panel of Reference is.

I am sorry that other duties have kept me from posting a new entry in the last couple of days. Well … actually, I am not sorry. I am trying to support a revolution in this wild and crazy church of ours. And all my energies have gone into that venture. The passage of time has not made me less disgusted by the slipshod work of the Panel of Reference (POR); if anything, it has made me more aware that they failed abysmally.

But I am back at last, and I want to point you to some of the very best commentary I have seen on the Panel of Reference's response to the Diocese of Fort Worth.

London's Daily Telegraph got the headline exactly right yesterday: "Anglicans Can Reject Women Priests," they proclaimed. That is precisely the message that the Panel of Reference broadcast to the world. And by his massively flawed failure of leadership, that is the message that the Archbishop of Canterbury is allowing to be spread around the world. The Panel of Reference told every province in the Anglican Communion that no province has the authority to exercise its own ministry or discernment within its own borders. Throwing out 500 years of Anglican tradition, the POR seeks to establish a Roman-style curia to govern the Anglican Communion. And the inept Archbishop of Canterbury trims his beard while allowing this travesty to occur.

I am struck that MadPriest had pretty much the same take as I did on the POR's report: he, too, seems to think this is the end of the Anglican Communion. Never mind MadPriest's screenname. He's not actually "mad"; in fact, I believe he is among the most sane commentators on the Anglican Communion and the Episcopal Church who is speaking today.

You must also go read Jim Naughton's thoughts at the Daily Episcopalian. In one post, he asks whether we Episcopalians in the U.S. are harming our mission and ministry by clinging to the "Anglican" label – inasmuch as that name is increasingly associated with racism, misogyny, and homophobia. He asks, "Is it worth it? Are we killing our Church to save the Communion?" This is a question we all need to ponder. In a follow-up, he asks why the Episcopal Church continues to give hundreds of thousands of dollars to support a structure that is bent on our destruction. Jim asks hard questions. Go and read – not just about this current issue, but also because he is perhaps the finest journalist in the Episcopal Church.

Over at Preludium, Mark Harris is also asking hard questions. Go and read his "Drip, Drip, Drip" – about the Panel of Reference and the recently announced composition of the Covenant Design Group.

As always, Thinking Anglicans does a superb of gathering news from a wide variety of sources. Click on this page to get "breaking news" about the Panel of Reference report. But click back to Thinking Anglicans regularly to stay abreast of all the significant news in the Anglican Communion. It should be on everyone's "daily reading" favorites.

The Episcopal News Service issued a press release so moderate that I can only believe every staff member at our church headquarters had to be heavily medicated to write and release it. It is truly "fair and balanced," when I would have wished they had come out swinging. I understand why they cannot do so, and that it makes them better Episcopalians than I am.

Those are the more temperate responses to the Panel of Reference's report. Now let me give you the more passionate ones.

If you're a regular reader of this blog, it won't surprise you to hear that Elizabeth Kaeton's comments made me shout "Amen!"

God bless 'em, Integrity has also weighed-in with a commentary. While Integrity is primarily devoted to the issues associated with homophobia in our church, and of claiming the rightful place of gay men and lesbians in our church, they rightly see that the Panel of Reference's attack on ordained women is part and parcel of the larger struggle for respect for all baptized Christians in our church.

What is most profoundly and sadly missing in all this commentary? It's the voices of the women of Fort Worth who have been denied access to the ordination process and the men who would support their access to the ordained ministry. For reasons that many of us can well understand, very few people in the Diocese of Fort Worth feel willing able to speak out. One notable exception is Katie Sherrod. Go and read her entry at "It's All About Gender." She has the nerve to report what nobody else has … so far as I have seen: the Panel of Reference was a sham. They did not do any research. They did not talk with people in Fort Worth. And they did not choose to see what Iker's misogynism has cost the people and parishes in that pitiful diocese.

The more I read, the angrier I become. It becomes more and more clear that Iker simply hates women. He is inflicting his totalitarian regime upon Fort Worth. The Panel of Reference bought Iker's glib lies hook, line, and sinker. And – with Jim Naughton – I am moved to wonder why in the world we would want to associate our Episcopal Church with this hate-mongering thing that the Anglican Communion is morphing into.

When the "primates" of the Anglican Communion meet in Tanzania next month, I think I'll be singing my little "Brer Rabbit" chant: "Oh no! Please don't throw me out of the Anglican Communion!"


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out for another Ft Worth woman speaking out.

1/11/2007 1:36 PM  
Blogger Cranmer49 said...

Anonymous -

If the Episcopal Church leaves the new faux Anglican Communion, it will be because it chooses to, not because it has been evicted.

1/11/2007 7:33 PM  

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