Friday, September 21, 2007

Sanctity of Marriage

Last night I penned an essay about the marriage practices in a certain African diocese I know, and I posted it here. When I woke this morning, I realized that it could cause them harm. So I pulled my essay offline.

Then I sent a note to my bishop, who is deeply and passionately committed to and involved with that African diocese. I asked him, "Do you think my remarks might harm our friends in that diocese?" I would not want to do that. So I invited my bishop to give me a godly admonition one way or the other. And I trust his judgment.

But isn't this sad? I wanted to write about what I have seen in that African diocese and how their cultural practices differ from ours. I appealed that the Anglican Communion should be big enough to encompass us both. But when I woke this morning, I realized that some folks might use my essay to beat up on that diocese.

So I pulled my essay offline.

If you saw my essay during the 12 hours it was online, you know what I'm talking about.

If you didn't ... Well, I'm waiting for my bishop to tell me whether he thinks it's safe to publish my essay. I trust his judgment.

And isn't that terribly sad? I pulled my essay not because I feared it could hurt me, but because I feared it might hurt my friends in Africa who don't have access to the blogosphere.
About a year ago, I attended a diocesan meeting when I still had a paralyzed hand, but I was furiously making notes as best I could. At the end of the meeting, I saw my bishop and he said, "Please don't blog this." He was right. And I didn't blog it.
For all that I seem a renegade, I recognize that some folks have a wider and wiser perspective than I do. When I hear from my bishop, I may re-post the essay I wrote last night.


Anonymous Linda McMillan said...

If my bishop asked me not to blog something, I would. Immediately. You have no obligation to him. That's the unenviable position of the clergy. We lay people should be raising Hell and lots of it, I say. I hope your bishop is less of an asshat than mine.

Austin, Texas

9/21/2007 10:49 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Maybe that's a difference, Lindy. My bishop is not an asshat. He's voted "right" on all the issues I care about. And I am very fond of him.

The meeting in which he asked me "Please don't blog this" was one in which he had shared some very personal stuff. I honored his request as one human to another -- not as a layperson to a bishop.

The reason I asked his guidance about this posting is because he understands better than I what it might cost this African diocese. He's more attuned to the political cost they might have to pay.

I hope this makes it a little more clear.

9/21/2007 11:06 PM  
Blogger muerk said...

I read the blog-post that you pulled and I think you did the right thing in asking your bishop's advice.

OTOH I think it would be good for the clergy to have help in their situation in Africa. I think there is a pastoral need there that has to be addressed in a loving way.

9/22/2007 2:08 AM  
Blogger MadPriest said...

In all honesty I can't see why you should be worrying about the essay in question. The truth can never be offensive and people tend to get offended by the truth so that they don't have to think about it.

Anyway, I linked through to it because it was so good. Now you have let me down. Back of the class, young Lisa.

9/22/2007 3:09 AM  
Anonymous Linda McMillan said...


It sounds like you are just being decent. I respect that and I hope I'd do the same.

My bishop is ham-handed, secretive,and practically nobody likes him that I can tell. He... well, it's Don Wimberley. Need I say more...

You're a good egg. I am going to petition MP to move you up a few rows.


9/22/2007 9:01 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9/22/2007 9:38 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

MadPriest, I am sorry I let you down. I accept your sentence.

Believe me on this: It broke my heart to take my original post off-line.

But MP, some people I love in Africa really could be hurt by this kind of discussion.

9/22/2007 9:41 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Thanks, Lindy. My bishop took time to e-chat with me about this. He is not ham-handed, and I trust him and his judgment.

Bottom line: He concurred that it could hurt people in Africa whom we both love.

Folks, some provinces of our Anglican Communion are not safe. In fact, they are very, very unsafe.

I'll take MadPriest's sentence. And I offer my apologies.

9/22/2007 9:45 PM  
Blogger Liz+ said...

Nothing to apologize for, Lisa. It's just one more sad example of the church being an unsafe place -- for women, for non-heterosexuals, and now for "regular" people whose culture makes Christian marriage difficult.

That you should have to censor yourself to protect your friends from spiritual violence is a terrible statement of what has happened to the Anglican Communion.

9/23/2007 12:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can understand "sterilizing" your essay so that individuals cannot be identified, but I regret the lost opportunity to know more about a culture that purports to judge ours and find it wanting.


9/23/2007 6:38 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth Kaeton said...

This is not an impeachable offense, Lisa. Just a very sad commentary on the whole state of Christ's church.

We are poorer for the loss of your essay.

Maybe another time. Like, after General Convention 2009?

9/24/2007 6:30 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Thanks, y'all. I hope there will be a time when I can publish it.

9/24/2007 7:33 PM  

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