Tuesday, August 28, 2007

On Chicago

It felt like mere minutes elapsed this morning between the time the Diocese of Chicago announced its list of candidates for bishop and Integrity's press release about the candidates.

And you know what? I am sorry about that.

It appears to me that Chicago has a very strong slate of five nominees. But in almost nothing flat, Integrity had a press release praising Chicago for nominating a lesbian.

What's that about?

The Episcopal Women's Caucus didn't issue a press release, celebrating the fact that three of the five nominees are women.

The Union of Black Episcopalians didn't issue a press release excoriating Chicago for having an all-white slate.

So why did Integrity need to play the lesbian card?

I truly do not get it.

I think we will have achieved true integrity in this church when nobody has to look first at the spouse/partner information in the candidate's bio, and nobody needs to comment about whether a candidate is gay or straight. I yearn for that day.

Yes! I am glad Tracy Lind (who withdrew from the episcopal election in Newark during GC 2006) has been nominated again to the episcopacy. From all I hear, she is an awesome pastor and leader.

However, I'm not at all sure I'm pleased that Integrity felt the need immediately to jump on the fact that Tracy Lind is gay, when (from what I hear) she is so very, very much more than that.

This is me, doing the "duck and cover" routine I learned in the early 1960s, as I await the wrath of my sister lesbians and brother gay men. I'm sure what I'm saying here is in direct contravention of the gay agenda, which -- God knows! -- I've worked so very hard to follow.

But on this one, I just do not get it.


Anonymous Linda McMillan said...

OK.OK. I am often not on board with the gay agenda either. I even wrote an essay entitled "Why I Won't Beg For The Blessing" once. So, this is not a call for you to get on board.

But, the big deal about Traci Lind is the message that B033 is irrelevant. And that really is quite a thing to say! I thought it merited a press release... and possibly a little dance.

8/29/2007 7:59 AM  
Blogger Suzer said...

You make a good point, but I think we can't have it both ways. GLBT people want to be included in the church, so we speak up for inclusiveness. Then, when it happens, it is of course important news to many. Thus, it gets a quick response. I, too, long for the day when we are past all of this, and one's gender or sexual orientation is not a news item. We are not there yet.

After a year of following the hullabaloo, "church" is not something I care about anymore (meaning the heirarchy, politics, power plays, etc.). It makes me feel ill thinking about it all. I probably need to make a break from reading about all of it, but force of habit has been bringing me back. I wish we could all just get on with the work of loving and serving our neighbor. Constant arguments are tiring and, I'm afraid, are getting us nowhere.

The only "agenda" I hope to serve is one of equality and respect for all people. The "gay agenda" phrase has been so misused. If there is any "agenda", it is a human one, striving to follow Christ's teachings and make the world a better place. Are you, perhaps, embracing and using the term in that respect?

8/29/2007 10:46 AM  
Anonymous Linda McMillan said...

Dear Suzer,

Since I don't know what the gay agenda is I guess it's alright to assume that I don't know what I am talking about either. That is often pretty close to the case anyway.

I do know that I misspelled Tracey. I know that. Sorry about that.

And I know that I rejoice in any action which minimizes heterodominent stupidity like B033.
I know that.


8/29/2007 7:24 PM  
Blogger Barbi Click said...

Well, all I can say is that I am dancing. But then, I am part of Integrity. :-)
I applaud Integrity's press release and Susan's praise for the whole list of candidates. But I also second the praise that Chicago had the courage to live into their faith that God might not care about PU33 or someone's sexual orientation. And for that, I dance. Lindy, you want to lead or should I?

8/29/2007 10:10 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Would you folks tell me why you think Chicago did something particularly courageous? The dioceses of California and Newark in 2006 nominated gay men and lesbians to the episcopate. The elections proceeded. As it happens, the gay men and lesbians didn't get elected. As far as I can tell, the folks in California and Newark are very happy with their bishops.

The good news I hear in this is that dioceses are nominating excellent candidates, the people are seeking God's will, and bishops are being elected. I trust it will be the same in Chicago this fall -- where they will seek a chief pastor, not a symbol.

8/29/2007 10:23 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Lindy & Suzy, take heart! Nobody mailed me a copy of the gay agenda, either. Or maybe it got lost in the mail. {grin}

Entering my 6th decade, I reckon I just have a life, not an agenda.

Too bad, huh?

8/29/2007 10:27 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8/29/2007 10:30 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

[I deleted my earlier version of this; too many typos.]

Barbi, I second your hope that our church will ignore that hideous B033. It was a nasty piece of business that accomplished no good thing, and I pray fervently that our whole church now realizes it wasn't worth the 30 pieces of silver it cost us.

8/30/2007 7:08 AM  
Anonymous Linda McMillan said...

Would you folks tell me why you think Chicago did something particularly courageous?

If you really need this explained to you then you should ask someone with more patience than I have. Maybe Barbi will do it. She is very nice. Much nicer than me.

Barbi - Shhhh, don't tell anyone but I am really not a very good dancer so you can lead. But, I am jumping up and down in my heart.


8/30/2007 11:14 AM  
Blogger toujoursdan said...

I agree with the post. I think it wrong shifts the focus from who they are to what they are. I want the best candidate to "win", no matter what his/her sexual orientation is.

8/30/2007 5:22 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth Kaeton said...

It's not about Lind qua Lind.

It's about B033.

It's about B033 and the September 30 "deadline" - which either "approaches" or "looms" depending on where you sit on the theo-political spectrum.

It's very, very important.

And, wait for a PR from EWC about the plethra of women candidates in so many diocese.

9/01/2007 7:42 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Elizabeth, you know how I admire and respect you. You've been in this battle much longer and much more faithfully than I, and you've been ever-so-much more effective than I. So I offer this response with much humility.

I would argue that if we are not talking about "Lind qua Lind," then we are in serious trouble.

I argue that it's her whole self – her soul and body – that's being offered up in this episcopal election. If we reduce it to sexual orientation, then we have ceded the argument. If we aren't talking about "Lind qua Lind," then we are as shallow as those on the other side, who want to reduce every person to his or her sexual orientation. I hope the people of Chicago will consider nothing but "Lind qua Lind."

Before GC06 and the hideous B033, the dioceses of California and Newark nominated gay and lesbian candidates. That was delightful. And those elections went their way, with both dioceses electing a new bishop – but not a gay/lesbian one. That was fine with me. The dioceses were open in their nominations and in their elections, and it seems both dioceses are very happy with the candidates who finally were elected and consecrated.

Then B033 was adopted by our Bishops and Deputies during GC06. As some of you will remember, my anger at that hideous resolution was so great that I took a sabbatical from the Episcopal Church. At the time, I was not sure whether I would ever return. But I did.

Just a reminder: B033 doesn't tell dioceses not to nominate gay men and lesbians to the episcopate. It urges that their elections not receive consents in our church. Fortunately, the silly "deadline" of September 30 will have come and gone long before Bishops and Standing Committees are asked to give their assent to the election in Chicago … however it turns out.

Let me say this clearly: I am very pleased that the Rev. Lind has been nominated. I hear marvelous things about her. It will delight me if the people of Chicago elect her. I would love for Gene Robinson not to be the only duck in the conservatives' shooting gallery; I would like him to have a sister and ally. [Even as I write that, it makes me sad to say such a thing.] And I'll confess this too: Just as African-Americans and other minorities "take heart" when "one of their own" are elected to leadership, so I would be encouraged to see Tracy Lind don the purple.

But hear this, y'all: B033 is dead. Deader than an armadillo on a Texas roadside on a summer day. It is utterly irrelevant. The Episcopal Church is the only province in the Anglican Communion that has abided by the Windsor Report and the various pronouncements of the primates. Only we have exercised restraint since the summer of 2006! The conservatives in our church are running around fomenting discord. Many primates are making baby bishops, in violation of councils dating back to Nicea and in flagrant violation of Windsor. In the aftermath of all the chaos and schism wreaked by bishops in our church and those abroad, the Episcopal Church is the only one that has actually been Windsor-compliant.

To summarize: I am happy that the episcopal search in Chicago has taken its course, and I am personally pleased to see the slate of nominees. From what I can glean, it's a very strong slate. I just can't get all worked up to see this as a "moment of truth" in the Anglican Communion. B033 is dead. The "Anglicans" are walking their own way. We just need to move along, doing our best with discernment.

I mean, really: Don't you all agree that the people of Chicago are going to cast their votes without regard to what Akinola & Co. will think about it? Sure you do! Case closed.

9/01/2007 8:53 PM  
Blogger Davis said...

Yikes! I'm "ducking & covering" as well. Thanks for the image - perfectly describes where I am right now.

I was hoping for some breathing space.

9/05/2007 7:58 AM  

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