Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Sad Day

Today is a very sad day for me. The Episcopal Church has choosen to walk apart. The House of Bishops approved resolution D025 which, in effect, stops the moritorium on ordaining a person sexually active outside of marriage to the Episcopate. TEC has effectively thumbed its nose at the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Anglican Communion and its own members. The leadership of this Church cares nothing for the fellowship of other Christians - only those who agree with them.

What will happen now? I don't know. I do know that the young boy who learned to serve God's altar at Trinity Cathedral in the 70s is crying because he doesn't understand what his Church is doing. I do know that the young man who was found by Jesus in TEC in California at Camp San Joaquin is asking his Lord what happened.

I do know that the young adult who got married and started (and then raised) a family in the Episcopal Church is not so much confused as hurt. Why would the Church turn its back on her Lord and on the rest of the Church?

But the deacon who was ordained five years ago is caught between sadness at the lack of will that the leadership in TEC has to hear God's word and anger that they refuse to listen. Part of the role of Deacon is that of prophet. To tell the Church what God has said. I am caught between Jeremiah's Lamentations and Hosea's anger. I find it rather interesting that God chose the metaphor of Marriage and Haroltry to explain Israel's faithlessness.

What now? I don't know. Tonight I will re-read Lamentations. I have a sermon to prepar for Sunday and the Gospel for Sunday is the feeding of the five thousand in Mark. Even in a far away place, God takes what we offer and provides abundance for it. Even when there is no hope in buying food to feed the people, there is God's provision for feeding those who stay to listen to the Lord as he teaches. I offer what I have to God and ask Him to multiply it. I pray that TEC learns to listen to God again as it drifts in the wilderness of secularism.

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

27 comments:

The Underground Pewster said...

Let us pray together.

I am blind to your ways oh Lord. Watch over me tonight in my time of trouble. Let me rest in the shelter of your wings, and give me peace as I await Your day.

Joe said...

Deacon Phil,

I cry with you, and I'll pray that we both, and all that love the Episcopal Church nurtured us, will enjoy God's peace.

Joe Roberts
(cottoncountryanglican)

Andy said...

My Prayers go with you Brother Phil. Its a truly sad thing to see a church body ostensibly tell the remnant of the faithful within, and its worldwide communion partners to kiss off.

I can also remember as a young accolyte in the 70's to another time when the Church told the communion to buzz off in the ordination of seven women in Pennsylvania. It gives me pause to wonder if we're seeing the fruition of that decision today in California?

May God have mercy...

Andy

--Ironically, the verification word for this post is Cater, hmmm

Dale Matson said...

Phil,
Focus on the obedience part.

Fr. Daniel Weir said...

Walk apart? One could argue that the Episcopal Church is more "Windsor compliant" than the Churches in Rwanda, Kenya or Nigeria. Restraint has been shown in the matter of consecration of bishops and there has been no approval of same-sex blessings by the GC, even the resolution passed this week does not give approval. At the same time, some Bishops and Primates refused to comply with WR's request to stop "border-crossing" and some of those same men have refused to share in the Eucharist with the Archbishop of Canterbury or to accept his invitation to attend the Lambeth Conference. To me that sounds like walking apart. While some Bishops spurned the Archbishop's invitation, the uninvited Bishop Robinson was there so that he could get to know other Bishops and they could get to know him. That sounds to me like walking together.

plsdeacon said...

Daniel+,

Please don't insult my intelligence or the intelligence of the Anglican Communion. With D025 and C046, TEC has determined that autonomy is more important than communion. The fact that the is not TEC wide liturgy for blessing same sex unions does not change the fact that many bishops have tacitly authorized SSBs. Men and women who are sexually active outside of the sacrament of marriage are still being ordained. At least two dioceses have nominated sexually active GLBT people as bishops. To say that TEC is "Windsor Compliant" is true only when you consider the letter of the law. I invite you to see what our Lord said about those who considered the letter of the law over its "spirit."

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

Robert said...

The Episcopal Church is overtly contradicting scripture and 2000 years of Church history. The Archbishop of Canterbury should get gears rolling to remove TEC from communion with the Church of England.

TEC has already shown how little they care to stay in the Communion, so why should they mind at this point?

Sad state of affairs. :(

BillyD said...

Hhhmm, Phil, on another website you wrote that, ""I actually had one email correspondant tell me he wanted me deposed and excommunicated because I did not agree with his view."

Well, at least they wanted to give you due process.

Really, Phil, your position and attitude isn't that much different, judging from this post There's no admission that those you disagree with are acting in good faith, or that you might be wrong - simply the absolute assurance that you have the correct interpretation of God's will on this issue, and that others are not only mistaken but betraying God.

Your e-mail correspondent, rude and intolerant as they were, wanted to give you a trial. I don't think you regard such a formality necessary for those you who have the temerity to disagree with your position.

BillyD said...

Sorry for the consecutive commenting...

" Men and women who are sexually active outside of the sacrament of marriage are still being ordained."

Which was not addressed by the Windsor report, was it?

"At least two dioceses have nominated sexually active GLBT people as bishops."

This is a non sequiter. They weren't elected, and probably would not have gotten the necessary consents if they had been. You can't stop dioceses from nominating who they want - you can only stop them from consecrating them.

"To say that TEC is "Windsor Compliant" is true only when you consider the letter of the law."

Phil, Windsor isn't law, and wasn't intended to be. Windsor is a report that made recommendations.

plsdeacon said...

BillyD,

1. I have NEVER said that I want anyone kicked out of the Church! I want no one excommunicated. There is a difference between accepting people as they are and blessing what they do. I do not want to run GLBT members out of the Church. However, I cannot bless certain behaviors and people who refuse to call those behaviors "sin" and continually indulge in those behaviors are not "wholesome examples" Christian leadership. If you don't believe what the Church teaches, then you should not be leading the Church!

2. I understand that Windsor did not address presbyters and deacons. But the fact remains that several (the majority?) bishops are still allowing (=tacit authorization) priests to bless same sex unions and I believe there is one bishop (+Bruno) who actually participated in one. So, did he not authorize himself to do that? Of course I may be remembering wrongly.

So, while General Convention is Windsor Compliant, GC is NOT the Church. There are whole swaths of bishops and dioceses and clergy that are not Windsor Compliant and you and I both know it. But you want to pretend otherwise.

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

BillyD said...

"1. I have NEVER said that I want anyone kicked out of the Church! I want no one excommunicated."

No, you merely are of the opinion that those who think differently than you on this subject have turned their backs on the Lord, and that ECUSA has ceased to be a Catholic Church. I'm not sure that calling for someone's excommunication is really any harsher than announcing a group's wholesale apostasy; in some ways, it seems less so.

"But the fact remains that several (the majority?) bishops are still allowing..."

Phil, please make a decision as to what you are claiming. Is it several bishops, or is it the majority? There's a big difference.

"So, while General Convention is Windsor Compliant, GC is NOT the Church."

GC is this Church's governing body.

"There are whole swaths of bishops and dioceses and clergy that are not Windsor Compliant and you and I both know it. But you want to pretend otherwise."

You seem to be saying that the only way that ECUSA could ever have been "Windsor Compliant" (and you still seem to be functioning under the misunderstanding that Windsor is law) would have been for every bishop, priest and deacon in ECUSA to do exactly what you want them to (Yeah, yeah, I know - it's not you that want them to, it's God). What are the chances of that happening on any issue?

I don't think it's me pretending anything, Phil. You seem to be pretending that ECUSA ever really had an opportunity to comply with Windsor, because you seem to have impossibly high standards for judging that compliance.

Fr. Daniel Weir said...

One more comment: I have heard, although the report may be inaccurate, that there are more blessings of same-sex marriage preformed in the Diocese of London than in all of ECUSA. And it is entirely accurate to note that there are dioceses in Canada which have moved far beyond anything that had happened in ECUSA. This leads me to the conclude that ECUSA is the target of so much anger from other parts of the WWAC because it is largely a US church.

plsdeacon said...

Billy,
Please stop putting words in my mouth or motives in my heart.

I believe that those who support blessing SSBs are wrong. Those who actually perform SSBs or allow others to do so are acting schismatically.

You cannot claim to be a Catholic Church if you don't care what the Church says.

I don't know if it is several or a majority of the bishops. Thus the question mark.

GC cannot "bless" anything. It can only consent to the ordination of bishops with a certain number of days of GC conveneing. So, it almost cannot be anything but Windsor Compliant. But, then again, it only exists for 10 days every three years so it would be very hard for GC to not be compliant. I hardly expect GC to have a gay wedding as part of its 10 day existence.

In order for TEC to be compliant, it would have to discipline the bishops and priests who are performing or allowing SSBs in public setting (such as the church building or parish hall). If TEC hadn't decided that autonomy was more important than catholicity, then Windsor would not have been necessary.

A major problem I have is that we say one thing here in the US, but we say a different thing world wide. Here we say that SSBs are OK, but abroad, we say that we haven't authorized anything and we don't know for sure that such things are happening. Here we say that D025 says that God calls men or women involved in gay sex to be bishops, but to the AC we say that B033 still holds. Here we say that B033 was never really a moritorium, but to the JSC we said that it was and included men or women involved in homosexual relationships.

Someone once said "let your yes be yes." I wish TEC would do so.

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

BillyD said...

"Please stop putting words in my mouth or motives in my heart."

Exactly where have I put words in your mouth? Did you not write, "Why would the Church turn its back on her Lord..."? If you didn't mean that those who disagree with you (actually, more than that - the entire Church) has betrayed Jesus, just what did you mean? Maybe you should dial down the hyperbole.

"You cannot claim to be a Catholic Church if you don't care what the Church says."

Which is not at all what the Episcopal Church has done. As a matter of fact, the Episcopal Church has made it clear that it does care what the rest of Anglican Communion says. But it has not allowed the rest of the Anglican Communion to legislate for it, or govern it. You may wish that the Anglican Communion had that power, but it does not.

Robert said...

It's a rather empty gesture of caring, IMHO. TEC "cares" but they are unilaterally leaving behind the compromise which was intended to preserve harmony with the Communion and the conservatives. It is a form of caring which looks exactly like they don't in fact care whatsoever.

Sort of like saying, "I respect you, but I decided to steal your car and total it." At some point you decide these are empty words.

Dale Matson said...

Robert,
Empty words indeed. Sarah Hey offered an insight when she said that the leadership of TEC is post modern and words to them mean what they want them to mean.

BillyD said...

Well, Robert, we just read Phil's opinion that what you call a compromise intended to preserve harmony with the Communion was dead in the water from the beginning; after all, there was never any mechanism in place that could have forced the sort of compliance with Windsor that Phil would have found acceptable. So, if "Windsor Compliance" never in fact existed, why the protests over its formal demise?

And if the freely-chosen mass exodus of all the conservatives who have aligned themselves with various "Anglican" groups resulted in a less effective conservative presence and voice at GC 2009 - well, wasn't that foreseeable? No one stole your metaphorical car: some of the people riding in it bailed out to get into more attractive, Global South™ models. The car went on without them, as they must have known it would.

Robert said...

Not unlike the Liberal idea that since we don't all perfectly agree on what the Bible says, we should toss it out altogether.

Jefferts-Schori, in an interview either immediately before or immediately after her rise to PB (forget which), made absolutely clear that she intended to push precisely this agenda, so if there was an engineer to that exodus it was surely her. The conservatives left the car... with KJS boot firmly assisting.

We conservatives however have been in denial. Sort of like Britain before WWII, in denial that Hitler really did intend to conquer Europe, when he clearly indicated this in Mein Kampf. By now it should be clear that TEC is in a state of schism with Anglicanism and indeed with Christianity.

BillyD said...

"Not unlike the Liberal idea that since we don't all perfectly agree on what the Bible says, we should toss it out altogether. "

Liberals believe that? Who, exactly? There are lots of problems with the Episcopal Church, but I've never heard anyone propose tossing out the Bible altogether.

"Sort of like Britain before WWII, in denial that Hitler really did intend to conquer Europe, when he clearly indicated this in Mein Kampf. "

Right...it's exactly like the rise of Naziism, and the Presiding Bishop is an analog to Hitler. Sure it is...Did you read what I wrote above about assuming that the people who don't agree with you are acting in good faith? Or ratcheting down the hyperbole?

Robert said...

I said liberal Christians. Liberal Episcopalians are not this upfront:
http://pomomusings.com/2008/12/15/the-bible-and-homosexuality/
Fourth paragraph down.

Whether you are acting in "good faith" or not is really essentially irrelevant. Atheists act in good faith.

Ratcheting down the hyperbole, well you will excuse my hyperbole, but I have just been permanently disabused of the notion that the denomination I technically belong to is Christian. I have to now decide whether to leave the church I belong to (which is conservative and which I like a lot) in order to belong to a church whose leaders actually belong to the Christian religion.

I have actually lost something. You're just proudly marching to a joyous rainbow-colored transgender-happy victory. So I think I have a right to be just a little more upset than you.

BillyD said...

"...I have just been permanently disabused of the notion that the denomination I technically belong to is Christian. "

So the issue of homosexuality is on the same level as the doctrine of the Trinity, or the Incarnation? Opposition to homosexuality is the litmus test that defines whether or not one is Christian? Excuse me, but that is a very, very strange point of view.

"I have to now decide whether to leave the church I belong to (which is conservative and which I like a lot) in order to belong to a church whose leaders actually belong to the Christian religion."

You do? That seems kind of odd, Robert. After all, GC 2009 shouldn't have been your first hint that the leadership of the Episcopal Church (or even most of the rank and file members) couldn't pass the litmus test you've decided determines Christian faith. There wasn't some momentous change in leadership this past week.

"You're just proudly marching to a joyous rainbow-colored transgender-happy victory."

Not me, Robert. If I were running the Episcopal Church as my personal fiefdom, the moratorium would stay in place. Not because I believe that consecrating non-celibate gay people as bishops is apostasy, but precisely because my preference would be not to rock the boat of the Anglican Communion. Time is not of the essence in this matter, and I think that ECUSA could afford to be graciously patient. Not that it would have made a whit of difference to those bound and determined to break the Communion apart on it - remember, the first Global South boundary crossings happened long before Bishop Robinson was elected, and continued afterwards in spite (and in defiance) of Windsor. So I can't see that continuing the moratorium really makes much of a difference.

Conservatives have one group to thank for GC2009, and it isn't the "liberals" (among whom you evidently count me) - it's your fellow conservatives who hightailed it AMiA, and CANA, and the Southern Cone, and now ACNA. I wish they hadn't left; I certainly don't relish the idea of an ECUSA in the control of the "progressive" wing. The Episcopal Church is poorer because of the loss of an effective conservative voice.

Robert said...

When a church consistently abandons apostolic teaching, the history of Christianity, and any sensible reading of scripture, then yes at some point I figure they aren't Christian. They're following their own inclinations in the name of Christ. KJS' recent pronouncement saying individual salvation was "heresy" (ironic to hear that word coming from her) is just one of innumerable instances of the sort. It's not all about homosexuality.

Re: the conservative exodus, lets not forget that the liberal hierarchy has been pushing forward their general agenda for a much longer period. So yes they left, and they are looking more and more prescient all the time.

They realized that it was too late for any kind of parity.

Robert said...

"After all, GC 2009 shouldn't have been your first hint that the leadership of the Episcopal Church (or even most of the rank and file members) couldn't pass the litmus test"

No it wasn't my first hint, but you don't join a church wondering what they talk about in their general convention. I joined a year ago. I wasn't immediately aware that the leaders of the church were so completely disregarding of scripture.

BillyD said...

"When a church consistently abandons apostolic teaching, the history of Christianity, and any sensible reading of scripture, then yes at some point I figure they aren't Christian."

Why is it specifically homosexuality that seems to have been the deciding factor? After all, there are plenty of other areas where the Episcopal Church and/or the Anglican Communion have abandoned longstanding Christian tradition and what you would probably call "sensible reading of scripture" to accommodate modern life, e.g. birth control, remarriage after divorce, the ordination of women. Why does consecrating a non-celibate gay person cast the Episcopal Church into outer darkness, but ignoring Jesus' pretty clear words about divorce and remarriage doesn't?

"KJS' recent pronouncement saying individual salvation was "heresy" (ironic to hear that word coming from her) is just one of innumerable instances of the sort."

As I've pointed out on your blog, you seem to have seriously misunderstood the PB's statement.

And really, innumerable?

Robert said...

Oh no, it is not just homosexuality. To be clear, we are all sinners and homosexuality is no worse probably than some things I have done, or at least thought about doing. It is the teaching that it is not a sin that I have an issue with.

And no, I am not in favor of church marriage, the sacrament of marriage, after divorce. Jesus was clearer about divorce than He was about basically any other sin. So you are right in saying Jesus was clear about that. We therefore shouldn't do it.

Now should you be able to get married after divorce? Legally sure, absolutely. In the Church, no.

Ordination of women, I have no personal problem with women priests in the church I attend, but no I do not think it is scriptural.

Birth control, I "understand" the Catholic Church's position on that, but I don't think that is anywhere in scripture.

I understood what KJS clearly said. That she fudged her words afterwards doesn't mean anything. You can't call people heretics and then start fudging, heretic is a pretty definite word.

Matthew said...

What did it for me was the communion of the unbaptized. When I understood how prevalent it was in my diocese and that the bishop thought it was a good idea, I knew that my diocese was no longer Christian.

When I heard the Presiding Bishop disparage orthodox teachings, snark about RC's, Mormons and Mississippians, then I knew it was time to leave the Episcopal Church.

The gay stuff makes the decline of the Episcopal Church titillating as a news story, but it never would have happened were not the working theology of the Episcopal Church a shambles.

I'm not saying that you can not be both an Episcopalian and a Christian, but I am saying that is not the environment I am in and and it is not my calling.

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