Tuesday, December 19, 2006

can't believe [they] got so far with a head so empty

I shouldn't care about this story at all, but since I attended an Episcopal college and have a number of friends who are members of the Episcopal church, I find myself drawn to it nonetheless. My feelings are those of sadness and resignation: it seems like bigotry and intolerance are not going to go away as quickly as some of us might like.

And to those Episcopalians who bristle at my use of the word bigot, let me ask you a question: What would you call discrimination against women and homosexuals?


John B. said...

Just a thought or observation fromt he Catholic side of the aisle:

Setting aside issues of morals, ethics, equality and the like...

After watching the rifts in Anglican Church over this whole gay marriage in the church issue, after seeing the increasing splits by congregations and groups away from the American Anglican Church, the Catholic Church should change its position why????

Just from a practical standpoint, why would the Catholic Church even want to seek to change its position on women or gay marriage after seeing what doing so has done to the American
Anglican Church? Both issues have been highly divisive and painful.

Again...just considering the issue from a practical standpoint, not a moral or ethical standpoint of right or wrong.

Church leadership is more practical than you might suspect.

John B. said...

Can you imagine the schisms and parish splits if this was going on in the Catholic church?

tommyspoon said...

The Catholic Church can do whatever it likes, just as the Episcopal Church can do whatever it likes. But I'm all for calling a spade a spade, and both organizations are guilty of bigotry, IMHO. Call it "scripture", call it "the word of God", call it whatever you want. It's still bigotry.

And to see any organization tear itself apart over bigotry is really sad.

P.S. What about the Women's Ordination Movement within the Catholic Church? They still making lots of noise?

Hugh said...

Some data about the "new" Episcopal parishes in Virginia:

"...The 15 churches above represent just over 7% of the churches in the Diocese. In terms of membership numbers, the 15 churches represent 11% of baptized membership and 18% of the diocesan average Sunday attendance of 32,000 as reported in annual parochial reports. In terms of financial support for the Diocese, in 2006 the 15 churches pledged $41,000 to the diocesan operating budget, nearly half of which came from one church, All Saints’, Dale City..."

So, it is really not a mass exodus. Just the work of a power-hungry, homophobic, African Archbishop, Peter Akinola, and his minions. It show how out of their minds people are that they who would rail against US authority being usurped by the UN (headed by the Ghanaian Kofi Annan) have no compunction about ceding their spiritual authority to an African.

John: Because the love of the Triune God is not/should not be "practical". Jesus spent a lot more time ministering to sinners and railing against by-the-rules leadership than the opposite. It would have been "practical" for him to exclude sinners. If these dioceses in VA think they can wall themselves up in their gated religious communities, more power to 'em.

I'll shut up now. Merry Christmas.

John B. said...

I am not advocating that the Church should view these matters from a practical standpoint, as this is definitely a morality/ethics issue. It is just that I think that there is an element within the Catholic hierarchy that is slow to react to avoid schism...separation...divisiveness....all of which exists in the Cath church's past.
Doesn't make it right...does make it a reality.

lemming said...

I am, unlike a great many Episcopal church members, baptized and confirmed in this denomination. I feel this conflict deeply.

I'm also a history teacher and (as my class would probably testify in spades) I push the history aspect of our denomination quite strongly. For too many, we're the "oh, Henry wanted a divorce to marry a younger woman" group. The intelectual/ spiritual/ cultural reasons are shuffled aside.

It's not all that long ago (within our lifetimes) that my denomination was supposedly "disintegrating" over the issue of female clergy. The it was the 1979 Prayer Book. Then it was...

The Virginians were looking for a reason to split off and found one. They, like the two bishops who still refuse to ordain women after 20+ years, are a minority. I pray for and care for them, but they do not define me or my faith any more than Bishop Robinson.

John B - can I imagine the schisms and parish splits? Yes. We've both read about and seen the post Vatican II issues, and know about what happened (still happens) with allegations of sexual abuse by Catholic priests.

re: bigotry: - my Baptist neighbor says he would not pull Bishop Robinson from a burning building because he is gay. That's bigotry. I disagree with my neighbor, but would try to rescue him. Not sure what that makes me.

My bottom line: if you claim that the Bible says homosexuality is wrong ergo it is, then you must abide by all of what the Bible says, what with stoning, cleansing, slavery, etc. The Virginians are advocating cafeteria-style faith. Either you wear a cotton-poly blend and have soem sense of cultural context or you don't.

Oh, yes, and I do believe that Mary was a virgin when she concieved.

(steps off of soapbox)

TeacherRefPoet said...

I left the Catholic church because I want to be on the morally right side of this issue. I believe I am...and as this split goes on, I believe I will remain where Jesus would be.

I take this personally. I was married in an Episcopalian church by a lesbian minister. This splinter group of Virginians obviously believe my marriage is not legitimate. May God forgive them for letting hate run the day. "Bigotry" is the right word, Spoon.

John--Jesus did a heck of a lot of impractical things becuase of His all-consuming love for all people. If he'd stuck with practicalities, neither one of us would want to follow him. And a Church that puts practicality above what is right...well, that's the reason it's not my Church anymore.

swankette said...

The Episcopal church was founded within the United States because being part of the Church of England within the early colonies was not seen as such a positive thing.

As such, the structure of the church was modeled closely after the structure of the new government being developed. We are a denomination that is led by the people. Unlike Catholicism, in which the decisions are made from the top and filtered down through the system, in the Episcopal church a vestry will decide what is best for the parish. A parish will decide who is to be there next rector. Parishes will decide who is to be the next Bishop. Dioceses have a say in the presiding Bishop. It allows for a lot of leeway within individual parishes. Within the Seattle area there is a parish in which parishoners speak in tongues on a regular basis.

At the General Convention each year, in which large-scale decisions are made, there is a House of Bishops and a second House (whose name I can't recall), which is made up of representatives from each Diocese. Decisions that affect the church as a whole are deliberated and decided by a large group of diverse people.

I support the decisions that my church has made in regards to gay rights. And in order for the church to reach these decisions it means that a LOT of members of the church agree with these decisions. If there are groups who used to be part of my church that decide that the decisions that have been made by the members of the church are not the decisions for them, I support their decision to leave the church. The church will still exist, will strengthen as a result, and in the future people won't remember these nutjobs.

It happened when women were allowed to become priests, and that's just distant history now.

I would call someone who discriminates against women and homosexuals a bigot, but that is not my church. And of that, I am very proud.