Sifting through the Sunday morning offerings

I have nothing in particular to add to the online conversation this morning, but others do. So here they are:

Stephen Bates, religion reporter for The Guardian has an interview with Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori. Asked what she will say when she meets Peter Akinola and others who oppose blessing same-sex relationships she says:

” ‘I will ask him what encourages him to see some of God’s children as less than human and less worthy of the dignity that our liturgy believes is the right of all human beings.’

“And if the Episcopal church gets thrown out of the Anglican communion – or, more likely, if its bishops get disinvited by Archbishop Williams from the next Lambeth conference of the world’s bishops in two years’ time? ‘It will be unfortunate if we don’t have partners, but the reality is lived at the level of local relationships, at local levels: folks from Nevada going out and helping in Kenya.’ ”

Steve Bates also has an analysis of our convention at The Tablet. He points out that:

“… the laborious process was scarcely helped by the intervention of certain English bishops, which went down extremely badly with the Americans. Bishop Tom Wright of Durham told the Episcopalians in a statement that they just had to fall into line. Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali of Rochester proceeded to trump that, by turning up in Columbus to inform the Americans, via the Daily Telegraph, that they were setting up a new religion – something that may have surprised the Episcopalians at their Sunday Eucharist service. Neither approach had apparently been cleared with Archbishop Williams in advance.

“In the circumstances it was unsurprising that, while Bishop Robinson was attracting a congregation of more than 1,000 for a sermon, Bishop Nazir-Ali in direct competition a short distance away could manage only 80.”

Elsewhere, Bishop Gene Robinson has penned an exhortation to gay and lesbian Christians for The Witness. He says:

“Keeping us in conversation with the Anglican Communion was the goal — for which the price was declaring gay and lesbian people unfit material for the episcopate. Only time will tell whether or not even that was accomplished. Within minutes — yes, MINUTES — the conservatives both within our Church and in Africa declared our sacrificial action woefully inadequate. It felt like a kick in the teeth to the ones who had gotten down on their knees to submit to the will of the whole, even though the price of doing so was excruciating. Such a quick, obviously premeditated and patently cruel reaction from the Right can be seen only as the violent and unchristian act it was.”

Father Jake has two informative posts (and you’ve got to visit just to see the t-shirt.)

I especially recommend Bishop Peter Lee’s letter to the Diocese of Virginia. He writes:

“The far right of the church already is filling blogs with statements of disassociation and repudiation. The fact is the General Convention has responded substantially and seriously to the Windsor Report. But some did not get their way: gay and lesbian people and their supporters who feel we have stepped back, and the extreme right, who find it so difficult to work with those with whom they disagree.

“The vital center of the church is intact. Much of what Convention accomplished is in the budget and in unheralded resolutions that strengthened the mission of the church.”

I think these words really mean something coming from Bishop Lee. I sat in on several sessions of the special committee that dealt with Windsor-related resolutions. The bishop was a member, and he worked hard to push those resolutions to the right.I opposed every amendment I heard him offer. Yet, I have absolutely no trouble saying that I belong to the same Church as Peter Lee. In fact, I am humbled to be able to do so.

And that brings me to Nick Knisely, who wonders whether all this “two churches under one roof business” is actually true.

“[It]seems to be more of a talking point than it is a valid point.

“Why two churches? Why not three? (Left/Middle/Right) Why not four or five? Where exactly are the boundaries of these two churches? Where are the moderates (which Bishop Duncan claims in his press release to have collapsed, but which are the cause of so much pain at the moment to the people on the “left”) supposed to fit into this bicameral model of our denomination?

“Or is this just rhetoric?”

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