Manners of life and the wider church

Father Jake points us to Anglican Underground, which impressed him (and us) with a post on what it means to have a “manner of life [that] presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion,” as ambiguously expressed in Resolution B033. Jeremy Lucas, the author of the post at Anglican Underground, wryly notes that there are many areas that present such a challenge, including environmental issues (driving an SUV might be such a manner of life, he says), war (“Any one who does not actively work and use any, active non-violent means to end war does not have a manner of life worthy of being a bishop,” he muses), and economic justice, citing various Lambeth resolutions:

In fact I think a complete financial analysis of every candidate for Bishop is in order to make sure that they are spending their money in accordance with Biblical principals and Lambeth Resolutions. This report should be made public knowledge and there should be an opportunity for the laity to respond.

In fact I think when Jesus said in Matthew “where your treasure is there your heart will be also” he gave us the best possible way to figure out what a persons “manner of life” is. We should begin to require a complete financial report of each Bishop and candidate for Bishop. Let’s not allow the Episcopacy to hide their manner of life behind their checkbooks.

Anyway this should just about exclude everyone from the possibility of being a bishop and those who make it through this process obviously have not have enough life experience to be effective shepherds to the flock so they are out too. Have a great day.

Fr. Jake notes that the House of Bishops did attempt to clarify what was meant by the passage at its meeting last month:

…The House acknowledges that non-celibate gay and lesbian persons are included among those to whom B033 pertains…

By singling out one particular “manner of life” that presents a challenge to the Communion, the bishops seem to have excluded a number of other “manners of life” that one would hope are at least as challenging, if not more so. How about bishops in multiple marriages? Schismatic bishops? Slothful bishops? It seems that if we are to be bound by this “manner of life” language, we really need to help the bishops explore a much more complete definition.

Jeremy, in return, offers this modest proposal:

I would suggest that there is another way to take subjectivity out of the decisions around who can be a Bishop. It is the development of a Manner of Life Quotient. This is how it would work. First everyone would agree on a number of criteria upon which a candidate for the episcopacy should be judged. Second each candidate would go through a thorough investigation process and be given a numerical score on each section. Then those scores would be calculated to give you a Manner of Life score. Each section would be weighted differently based on how much importance is placed on it in scripture and our tradition. So homosexuality would be weighted very lightly, while giving and generosity would be weighted very heavily. So someone could be gay and be very generous and score higher that a stingy straight person. This should clear it all up. I hope to have the criteria and scoring worked out by sometime next week.

Jake’s post is here, and Jeremy’s are here and (followup) here.

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