Friday, March 20, 2009

Bishops to TEC: I Can’t Hear You

First let me say: There is no news coming out of Episcopal Church Center anymore. It’s just spin and propaganda. I hear there are journalists on our staff, but they no longer commit journalism, as far as I can tell.

So I should not be surprised that no actual news reports came out of the Bishops’ meeting at Kanuga over the past week.

In the months since Lambeth, there have been some pretty significant events. Bubba Bob seeking the golden quaffle of a new Anglican province in North America. Bubba Jack & Bubba Keith pretending to remove their dioceses from the Episcopal Church while pretending still to be the Real Anglicans in America. Bishops deposed. Continuing incursions. ++Rowan appointing Pastoral Invaders to the Episcopal Church. A right fine mess all around.

And so our bishops went to spend almost a week in Kanuga. I wasn’t terribly anxious about the meeting, as things seem to be getting more and more clear, now that the more obnoxious trouble-makers are moving to warmer (Nigerian and Argentine) climes. But I did think the bishops might discuss all this, and that the Episcopal News Service might commit something remotely approaching journalism.

But no.

Here’s what we get from the ENS report on the recently concluded Bishops’ meeting:

Some media questions at the concluding news conference focused on comments made on bishops' blogsites, such as those written by Bishop Dan Edwards of Nevada, about a response to the communiqué issued after a February meeting of Anglican Primates (leading archbishops and presiding bishops) in Egypt.
Edwards described the dilemma of exercising ‘gracious restraint' in same-sex blessings while cross-jurisdiction interventions continue, including in his own state of Nevada.
"There will probably be some move to repeal the ‘restraint' resolution to comply with the moratoria at General Convention this summer," he wrote. "What to do?"
Jefferts Schori and other bishops at the media briefing said the issue was not discussed at any plenary session. "We had a brief conversation, about one-half hour total, about communion-wide issues that will be in the mix at General Convention," she said.
HUH??? Over the course of a six-day meeting, our bishops squeezed in a half-hour to discuss the wider issues of the Anglican Communion? With a great number of dioceses proposing resolutions to overturn B033, support SSBs, reject the Anglican covenant ... the bishops found about a half-hour to discuss these issues?

Mind you, I'm happy to have "slow leadership" and a "non-anxious presence" guiding our church. But non-anxious deliberation is one thing, and ostrich emulation is quite another.

Was the ENS reporting just lazy? Or are the bishops ignoring the wider issues of the Anglican Communion as they are being expressed within our own dioceses? I am bumfuzzled.


Blogger Jane R said...

And in this you are, for once, agreeing with the SF folks... ;-)

Seriously, thanks.

3/20/2009 1:13 AM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Oh, s@#*, Jane! I'm agreeing with the SF crowd? Surely not! But I'll have to take your word for it, as I haven't been over there for several weeks.

Upon the news that the SF crowd and I are in agreement, I am now going to drown myself in the Slough of Despond.

And ... BTW ... what the heck are you doing, staying up so obscenely late?? I thought I drew the "3rd-shift duty" this week. ;-)

3/20/2009 1:27 AM  
Blogger MadPriest said...

I completely agree with you, Lisa.

It seems that 3 years is a long time in the blogging world. Not that long ago we were all in it together. The pros and the bloggers used each other's skills and together we were beautiful. But now it's gone back to an us and them situation. The institution has promoted both influential media types and influential bloggers to within the institution and, through this, have gained almost complete control of the Anglican information highway.

But do we despair? Well, a little, maybe. But not for too long as those of us, like you andme, who will never in a million years be promoted to class monitor, now have twice as much work to do.

The first thing we must do is forcibly drag our legions off the gossip sites and back into the blogosphere. I don't know, the attention span of people nowadays...

3/20/2009 5:58 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Well Lisa, I wouldn't despair over the fact that we can all agree that no one from 815 is "committing journalism" these days. I wouldn't even despair over the lack of leadership from "the junior house" as a body. It has ever been thus. That does not mean that there aren't some pockets of leadership among the purple shirts. Some of them are functioning under the radar - on both sides of the screen - under the banner of "self-differentiation" on the Left and "survival" on the Right.

And everyone is trying to figure out where the lines will be drawn in the "new liberal" and "new conservative" beach in the midst of shifting theological sand.

Actually, I expect things to be much the same in both houses in Anaheim, despite the assumption of some that this will be a 'watershed' convention.

Pshaw! When we get there, we may be "marching in the Light of God" but, for the most part, we'll be marching in place.

Gosh, I sound like a real pessimist. I'd like to think that, after almost 25 years of leadership, I've become a pretty clear-eyed realist.

We shall see. Meanwhile, the dance of the church's sense of justice will continue: Two steps forward, side-step, side-step, three steps back.

3/20/2009 8:25 AM  
Blogger Pat Klemme said...

Lately it seems "if we don't talk about it, it will go away" across the Lambeth spectrum. I watched for regular and blog news for hopeful signs of change coming in Anaheim, and the silence was deafening.

I am waiting for the Episcopal Church to welcome me....

Every GC I look for progress. After BO33, I decided to go elsewhere. I won't come back until TEC gets over pleasing wackos instead of pleasing God.

I salute your fidelity to the church, Lisa and fellow commenters. You have the power to work within to bring about change.
Some of us need to be the 'stick' while you wave the 'carrot'. My connection to God--Father, Son, and Holy Spirit--is not dependent on TEC, so I choose to express my sorrow by staying apart. I am not willing to support a church that doesn't support me.

3/20/2009 8:44 AM  
Blogger Ann said...

That was my question at the press conference -- and the answer to it and most others - was "we talked about it" Arrggghhh!

3/20/2009 9:13 AM  
Blogger Brother David said...

Outsider looking in -

This was mostly a retreat for them; rest, relax, connect, and hob nob with their fellow bishops. The newer bishops continued with their studies and being mentored as part of Bishop's University. That in itself is a three year process and there are many in different years of the course. There were no earth shattering decisions to make, no depositions. They elected a bishop for Ecuador Central.

Be grateful that they actually did not mess with anything important.

One of the things difficult to quantitatively or qualitatively evaluate, especially in terms of the press meeting sound bite, would be the continued relationships they foster among them. Those will come in handy later for the more important things awaiting.

I think that we are too jangled from the adrenalin stir caused by the earth-shattering events of past years that the non-events of Lambeth, Primates Meeting and now TEC HoB retreat have you lot waiting for the other shoe to drop. Just put your toesies in the water and relax.

ACC may not be such a non-event. OCICBW...

3/20/2009 10:23 AM  
Blogger JimB said...

It is not about journalism, it is about leadership.

Here is the problem, I think. The bishops like the nice trips to England, the deference, the perks. Now we come along expecting them to actually lead and they are looking at actually giving up the neat blue tent at Canterbury.

Half an hour? Want to bet is was more like 15 minutes? I can even tell you the topic -- how do we control the hotheads at GC?

who is already drowning.

3/20/2009 11:01 AM  
Blogger Leonard said...

Was there any mention of the upcoming ACC Meeting in remember Jamaica, The Province of the West Indies? If you don´t remember their recently retired (I hope) Archdoubletalking-doublefaced Drexel Gomez and his Anglican Covenant at least remember:

A. Jamaica has the MOST brutal and deadly record of Hate Crimes against LGBT in the Western Hemisphere.

B. AMONGST All, yes all, the Country Diocese that make up the Province of the West Indies NONE of them have laws allowing LGBT people to even exist (lawfully or not-so-much)!

Meanwhile the beige colored reporting from the Episcopal Church and the ¨sensible¨ planning from The HOB continue to offer wallpaperlike patterns of nothingingness while LGBT Episcopalians/Anglicans and others are trashed, burned, stripped, violated, persecuted, jailed and murdered under the LEADERSHIP of Akinola in Nigeria, Orombi in Uganda and other deadly preachers. Preachers at The Anglican Communion who instigate violence, discrimination and damnation.

Meanwhile, OUR HOB´s wants to play nice nice with the world and indulge in endless games of PRETEND (which is better defined as Codependent avoiding/scheming).

These folks are unable to recognize they are smack in the MIDDLE of a worldwide Pogrom against LGBT human beings that is being flamed in Nigeria, Uganda and the Middle East!

Many may say they are ¨prudent¨...not me!

3/20/2009 11:48 AM  
Blogger Ann said...

here and here are some actual responses to the economic situation.

3/20/2009 12:30 PM  
Blogger bfelice said...

Well, step up, kid. Apply for GC offsite media credentials and send questions in from the field.

3/20/2009 5:34 PM  
Blogger Jane R said...

Well, the SF crowd (whom I read maybe once a month or every month or two) say that all that comes out of 815 is spin. That's what I meant.

Yeah, burning the post-midnight oil. Don't ask. It ain't partying.

3/21/2009 12:43 AM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Sorry to blog and run, y'all. Friday was a crazy-busy day at the office, and now I'm down at the Lake visiting friends.

Thanks for the note, MP. You're right, many of us (including me) have been frittering away our time at the gossip site. I know I've sorta "left the battlefield" for a while. It was wearing on me too much. I think maybe I'm ready to get serious again.

3/21/2009 9:14 AM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Elizabeth, I certainly hope folks don't just "march in place" in Anaheim. I believe it's time for us to fish or cut bait. Move on toward being the Church God calls us to be -- no matter what arm-twisting +Rowan or others may attempt.

3/21/2009 9:16 AM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Pat, I do understand those feelings ... as well as one can understand another. I started this blog right after GC06, livid about B033. And I left TEC. I didn't know whether it would be just a sabbatical or a divorce. It turned out to be only a sabbatical, as I realized that I need a structured faith community and liturgy, and I find it best in the Episcopal Church. But that's just me.

I know others whose wounds are deep like yours, and I hope TEC finally lives up to its promise, so you can "come home."

3/21/2009 9:19 AM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

"It is not about journalism, it is about leadership."

Amen, JimB!

3/21/2009 9:30 AM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Leonardo, I too was struck by the fact that the bishops' letter declares their standing in solidarity with the world's poor people. But they seem completely to ignore the need to stand in solidarity with the LGBTs of the world. You're right in pointing to the violence against LGBTs -- and of Akinola's complicity in that. Can our own bishops not hear the hypocrisy in their statement? They embrace the poor, but "let's quit talking about 'teh gay'" -- which they seem to dismiss as mere "internal affairs."

3/21/2009 9:33 AM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Beth, I didn't know that was possible. I'll be in touch with you via e-mail.

3/21/2009 9:34 AM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

JaneR, thanks for the clarification about SF. I believe they are right about the "spin" thing. It wasn't always like this. For a while after KJS's installation, there was a fresh breath of honesty and openness. At one certain point, they battened down the hatches. Things changed ... and not for the better.

You certainly are keeping late hours recently. REST! (if you possibly can)

I too have been exhausted over the past days. But I'm with friends this weekend at their vacation house, and when I arrived, they announced that the purpose of this weekend was (a) to visit and care for each other and (b) to ensure I relaxed and rested. ... I hope you will have some time like that soon.

3/21/2009 9:38 AM  
Blogger Ann said...

A lot of the work at HOB does not get done in formal sessions with press conferences. I know there were bishops who were working on gblt full inclusion in prep for GC -- you do have allies -- just hope they are enough to sway the HOB -- the Deputies are ready IMO.

3/21/2009 9:56 AM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

That's good to hear, Ann. Reminds me of that spring meeting where Jim Kelsey and his group were so tremendously effective. I will trust you on this.

3/21/2009 10:49 AM  
Blogger MadPriest said...

As I've never visited FaceBook et al, for the simple reason I don't have the time (I have to do a bit of work sometime), I have no idea who posts on them. I certainly wasn't picking on you Lisa. Your recent posts have been of their usual high standard.

One thing I would point out is that the media and the bosses do check out the blogs (they use them as ready made and free focus groups) and bloggers have a far bigger influence than their numbers might warrant. They do not, because they cannot, check the gossip sites.

3/21/2009 2:01 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

No, MadPriest! I didn't take it as a personal criticism. It echoed my own growing sense that I've been frittering away time that could better spent either in blogging or other pursuits. I envy your energy and focus. I hope you know that!

3/21/2009 5:34 PM  
Blogger LKT said...

As a small aside, I love the honorific Bubba. I've been wondering what to use.

3/21/2009 8:43 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Thanks, Laura. I struggled with what to call them. They wear big pointy hats and they pretend to speak as Christians. But they behave just like the swaggering, hatemongering "bubbas" I knew in Texas, Nashville, and Georgia. I'm glad you noted and enjoyed it.

3/22/2009 4:35 PM  

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