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Ecclesial Arrogance

Mark Harris wrote:

> Bishop Whalon said, about the perception that what we did at
> Convention was an ecclesial Iraq, "This is a perception we need to
> engage."
> We certainly do.

Comparing the actions of the Episcopal Church at General Convention to
imperial actions of the U.S. military in Iraq presumes that the
Episcopal Church acted on behalf of the the powerful and the elite,
yet we did just the opposite.

In consenting to the election of the Bishop of New Hampshire
(Resolution C045) and in "recogniz[ing] that local faith communities
are operating within the bounds of our common life as they explore and
experience liturgies celebrating and blessing same-sex unions"
(Resolution C051) the Episcopal Church acted on behalf of those whom
many in the Communion reject and sometimes even despise and treat as
"lower that pigs and dogs."

If you want a parallel to the American military invasion in Iraq, you
need go no farther than Lambeth 1998 sexuality resolution and the ways
that some bishops have tried to bully enforcement of it in provinces
where they have no jurisdiction.  In the polity of the Episcopal
Church, even our own House of Bishops may not make policy for the
whole church without the consent of the House of Deputies.

At Lambeth the bishops refused even to meet with lesbians and gays to
whom they had sent an invitation.  Imperiously one bishop repeatedly
tried to exorcise the homosexuality out of a British deacon against
his will.  (You can hear a brief part of the exorcism at
http://rci.rutgers.edu/~lcrew/exorciz2.wav)  Not one bishop went on TV
to counterstate this outrageous spectacle.  Anglican credibility to
the unchurched in England will suffer from that episode unto the third
and fourth generation.

Compare the gentle way that Jesus teased with my Samaritan ancestor at
the well:  he was much more concerned with her thirst than with her
sin.  When she left, she proclaimed to all, "He told me everything I
ever did!"  She did not say, "He told me how awful I am and ought to
be ashamed of myself."  Small wonder that Jesus had his first success
as an evangelist in Samaria.

At General Convention, the Episcopal Church dared to live into the
part of the Lambeth Sexuality resolution that most of the Communion
has conveniently forgotten (or perhaps never really meant?): "to
listen to the experience of homosexual people... [and] to assure them
that they are loved by God and that all baptized, believing and
faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members
of the Body of Christ"

At General Convention the Episcopal Church lived into the prayer
"Let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down are
being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new,
and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him
through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus."

If it is ecclesial arrogance to go into the highways and hedges, yes
even to the uttermost part of the earth to bring the good news that
God loves absolutely everybody, let us have much more of such

All too rarely has the Church stood on the side of outcasts and
sinners, yet we are those for whom Christ died.

I am enormously grateful to be a disciple with you in the Episcopal

Lutibelle/Louie, Sinner saved by grace, amazing still

Louie Crew, Nwk Dep.  03, 00, 97, 94.  Executive Council 00-06
377 S. Harrison St., 12D, East Orange, NJ 07018-1222. 973-395-1068
http://newark.rutgers.edu/~lcrew/rel.html  Anglican Page

cc: Bishops of the Anglican Communion

[Gentle bishops of the Communion:  I invite you to contribute to this
discussion and will pass along any comments you send me to the 1,400+
who participate in the bishops-deputies discussion list.  Louie]

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