Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Take a bow

I considered giving the TEC bishops a Braxton's Lear for their recent emission following their March meeting, but I just couldn't do it. As it was an ensemble piece, there were some discordant notes, and I couldn't justify it. However, such an effort shouldn't go unremarked, so I've created a special award just for this occasion: The More-In-Sorrow-Than-In-Anger Golden Hairshirt

There was a lot of good stuff in this essay, starting with the protestation, yet again, of "the deep longing of our hearts for The Episcopal Church to continue as a part of the Anglican Communion." This was a step up from the "desire", or even "passionate desire" of the usual formula, though I note that it was introduced with "We affirm", which has taken on the status of, in Malcolm Muggeridge's words "the ritual introduction of a lie."
We would therefore meet any decision to exclude us from gatherings of all Anglican Churches with great sorrow, but our commitment to our membership in the Anglican Communion as a way to participate in the alleviation of suffering and restoration of God's creation would remain constant.
This sets the tone for much of what is to follow; the heavy hearts, the stern countenances, the lonely, misunderstood figure standing alone, silhouetted in the setting sun. The next bit breaks the mood a little:
We have no intention of choosing to withdraw from our commitments, our relationships, or our own recognition of our full communion with the See of Canterbury or any of the other constituent members of the Anglican Communion.
Translation: If you break up with me, I'm going to make a big scene in public.
Indeed, we will seek to live fully into, and deepen, our relationships with our brothers and sisters in the Communion through companion relationships, the networks of Anglican women, the Anglican Indigenous Network, the Francophone Network, our support for the Anglican Diocese of Cuba, our existing covenant commitments with other provinces and dioceses, including Liberia, Mexico, Central America, Brazil, and the Philippines, our work as The Episcopal Church in many countries around the world, especially in the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, and Taiwan, and countless informal relationships for mission around the world.
AND I'M KEEPING THE RING!!!
Since our General Convention of 2003, we have responded in good faith to the requests we have received from our Anglican partners. We accepted the invitation of the Lambeth Commission to send individuals characteristic of the theological breadth of our Church to meet with it. We happily did so.
You never heard US complain. Oh, no, that's not our way. We just carried on smiling through, spreading a little sunshine wherever we went, even though nobody noticed the effort it took. Never thinking of ourselves, but then, we don't expect anyone to think about US.
Our Executive Council voluntarily acceded to the request of the Primates for our delegates not to attend the 2005 meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in Nottingham. We took our place as listeners rather than participants as an expression of our love and respect for the sensibilities of our brothers and sisters in the Communion even when we believed we had been misunderstood.
In the true spirit of Beau Geste, we said nothing when we were falsely accused. We just shouldered our unfair burden, and carried on without a word of complaint. Even though we thought that someone MIGHT have spoken up for us, after all these years of writing checks fellowship and sharing. But...it was not to be.
We accepted the invitation of the Primates to explain ourselves in a presentation to the same meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council. We did so with joy.
(And by the way, this is what you get when you try the Miss Manners route with these people. When you issue a command, it's pretty clear when it's not complied with. But sling out a squishy "invitation" or a "request", and you allow them to sidle back with any old half-baked pile of goo as a "response" and pretend that THEY'RE the ones being magnanimous. - Dr. M.)
At the meeting of our House of Bishops at Camp Allen, Texas in March, 2004 we adopted a proposal called Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight as a means for meeting the pastoral needs of those within our Church who disagreed with actions of the General Convention. Our plan received a favorable response in the Windsor Report. It was not accepted by the Primates.
We could say a lot about this, but we're too stoical.
At our meeting in March 2005, we adopted a Covenant Statement as an interim response to the Windsor Report in an attempt to assure the rest of the Communion that we were taking them seriously and, at some significant cost, refused to consecrate any additional bishops whatsoever as a way that we could be true to our own convictions without running the risk of consecrating some that would offend our brothers and sisters. Our response was not accepted by the Primates.
"at some significant cost", I hope you notice! Normally I wouldn't say anything, but, well, sometimes my feelings just break through.
Our General Convention in 2006 struggled mightily and at great cost to many, not the least of whom are our gay and lesbian members, to respond favorably to the requests made of us in the Windsor Report and the Primates' Dromantine Communiqué of 2005. We received a favorable response from the Joint Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates, which found that our effort had substantially met the concerns of the Windsor Report with the need to clarify our position on the blessing of same sex relationships. Still, our efforts were not accepted by the Primates in the Dar es Salaam Communiqué.
Did you hear me? "AT GREAT COST", I said! And we STRUGGLED! MIGHTILY! I wouldn't think it possible a single heart could remain unwrung by our tribulation, but those Primates just treated it as if it were NOTHING! And I hope you noticed the triple repeat there: that's anaphora, that is. There's not much use for Latin in this job, but it's worth it to get nifty rhetorical tips from Cicero.
Other Anglican bishops, indeed including some Primates, have violated our provincial boundaries and caused great suffering and contributed immeasurably to our difficulties in solving our problems and in attempting to communicate for ourselves with our Anglican brothers and sisters.
"Suffering", "difficulties" and "problems", all in one sentence, and all referring to ME.
We proclaim the Gospel of what God has done and is doing in Christ, of the dignity of every human being, and of justice, compassion, and peace. We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ there is no Jew or Greek, no male or female, no slave or free. We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ all God's children, including women, are full and equal participants in the life of Christ's Church. We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ all God's children, including gay and lesbian persons, are full and equal participants in the life of Christ's Church.
In TEC there is both East and West,
And ne'er the twain shall meet,
Till all our reasserting foes
Lie crushed beneath our feet.
If that means that others reject us and communion with us, as some have already done, we must with great regret and sorrow accept their decision.
"We brought them the Gospel, but they would not listen. Damn them all."

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you are spot-on here, Doc. These guys make Braxton's Lear look like Olivier.

You will notice, however, that the outcome of the 'mighty struggle,' carried on at 'great cost' and to the planget wails, gnashing of teeth and rending of garments of the Perpetually Oppressed GiBLeT community has, to date, resulted in but one casualty whose manner of life TEC grandees found beyond the pale: Mark Lawrence. I think that says it all about B033, no?

Jeffersonian

1:14 pm  
Blogger The Big Seester said...

Dr. Mabuse,

Once again, you have forced me to expel liquid from my nasal passages. You MUST warn us when you are going to translate uberPCspeak for us.

The entire thing was laugh out loud funny, but the part that got me was this:

"Translation: If you break up with me, I'm going to make a big scene in public."

WOW. Is that ever spot on!

I read through it twice. Once just reading your comments, and the second time inserting the heavy sighs that I imagined them heaving as they wrote.

For example I can completely hear the sigh at the end of this sentence:

We took our place as listeners rather than participants as an expression of our love and respect for the sensibilities of our brothers and sisters in the Communion even when we believed we had been misunderstood.

Keep up the good work, Dr. Mabuse!

TBS

2:43 pm  
Blogger Kasia said...

I rather liked "AND I'M KEEPING THE RING!" myself...

I hope I never write anything that inspires this kind of response, O Great Snarky Blogger! ;-)

5:11 pm  
Anonymous wwortman@mts.net said...

'Bonitatem fecisti'!

Wonderful writing, and in the highest of styles. Wonderful. Majestueux.

The Episcopalians have never been 'Anglican' in the purest sense of the word. After all they came into being when they cut themselves off from Sancta mater anglicana in 1789 or whenever.

I lived in the USA for many years, and shuddered every time I heard the prayer for the President's majesty, except they have democratic wording.

V: O Lord Save the King:
R: And evermore mightily defend him sounds so much more dignified.

8:41 pm  
Blogger Ellie M said...

"We would therefore meet any decision to exclude us from gatherings of all Anglican Churches with great sorrow, but our commitment to our membership in the Anglican Communion as a way to participate in the alleviation of suffering and restoration of God's creation would remain constant."

Translation: "We've got most of the MONEY, hard for you all to carry on without it -- capisce?!"

"If that means that others reject us and communion with us, as some have already done, we must with great regret and sorrow accept their decision."

Oh, sheesh -- all that's missing from this is the swelling violin-music. Save it for the Met, folks, please!

9:25 pm  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

Ah, you're all very kind - thanks for the compliments! One thing that shouldn't surprise me, but still does, is the crudeness, the lack of finesse, the plain, plonking clumsiness of these "leaders". There's nothing subtle about either their threats or their self-pity; I guess History has furnished lots of examples of vulgarians getting their hands on the delicate machinery of a state or an organization constructed by their forbears and betters, but it's still surprising. Maybe it's just that they SHOULD be so easy to stop, and yet they're not.

10:01 pm  
Blogger Ellie M said...

You raise a good point, Dr. Mabuse. All joking aside, we should have stood up to these activists and their agenda a long time ago. It's too late now.

The old fable of the Arab and the camel comes to mind...

10:48 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What you tolerate today, tomorrow you embrace. The Pikes, Spongs, Righters weren't disciplined for their defiant heresies, and now the church that demurred embraces them.

There is a lesson here.

Jeffersonian

12:06 pm  

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