11 July 2009

Pioneers, all is well, and half assed members

Wow, I hope you were one of the lucky 1,600 people who attended the Integrity mass last night. According to all reports it was a standing room only event. I hope someone will post a lot of photos of the event and of our fellow bloggers. (Photo: Telling Secrets)

It must have been remarkable to be in the room with two pioneers in TEC. The Rt. Rev'd Barbara Harris was the first woman to be consecrated a bishop in this church. The Rt. Rev'd V. Gene Robinson was the first honest gay man to be consecrated a bishop in this church. And, both of them were present at the Eucharist. Bishop Robinson said, "If only we could bottle this energy."

You kjnow that the event was spectacular when even the Living Church extolled the mass
The planners of Integrity’s Eucharist thoroughly transformed the Pacific Ballroom in the Hilton Hotel into a place of lively worship.

Three large and colorful parasols marked a gospel station, and a large bronze baptismal font topped a brightly draped altar. A procession before the Gospel reading marched through every aisle between the movable seats, filling the room with incense. Bishop Robinson scattered baptismal water generously during the gospel procession.

After Bishop Harris offered her teaching—the program did not call it a sermon—Bishop Robinson and the Rev. Thomas Wilson of All Souls Church in Point Loma led a visually stunning Prayers for the Ministry of All the Baptized.
+Robinson made a statement on his blog that should give us some hope
My sense is that the place of the Episcopal Church in the Anglican Communion is not in danger. Strained and tense, sometimes, yes. But actually threatened, no. Are we in the same place regarding the issue of homosexuality -- of course not. But the bonds of affection are strong and deep, and God will see us through this difficult time. This is a strong belief exhibited by all the primates and bishops visiting this Convention from across the Anglican Communion. It confirms my own belief that it is time for us to stand up and be the Church God is calling us to be, and trust that the Anglican Communion will not only survive, but be a blessing to all.
But, as comforting as that should be to TEC, it doesn't mean we will see the end of B033. Bishop Harris made a good comment that many of us have been saying since 2006
[B033 was] the ticket for active members of the House of Bishops – Robinson excluded – to attend the 2008 Lambeth Conference, and to make some false peace with others in the communion.
Both of her statements are absolutely correct. Tea with The Queen was worth the spilled blood of any member of TEC, and that's what we saw. And, it was just false hope, too. The Communion as we have known for about 120 years is dead; not just dead, it's decomposing.

But the best quote from the mass came from Bishop Harris who said
If you don't want GLBT folks as bishops, don't ordain them as deacons, better yet, be honest and say 'we don't want you, you don't belong here' and don't bestow on them the sacrament of baptism to begin with. How can you initiate someone and treat them like they are half-assed baptized.
When I was a child, my parent's best friends were an elderly black couple named Clarence and Ellen Daniels whom I loved as much as I loved my parents. When I read +Harris' comment I laughed right out loud. I could hear Ellen's voice as I read Harris' words. Leave it to a black woman, a black grandmother to tell it like it is.

But, of course, she is absolutely correct. That's what the bishops have done for far too long and continue to do. And, mark my words, that's what they will do in 2009. For more on the mass, see We Could Have Danced all Night.

Sue Carter has an interesting take on the events in Anaheim. You'll find her column here but this is the interesting bit

It was the presiding bishop’s remarks at the convention opening on Tuesday that have apparently roiled elsewhere, but caused barely a ripple here. In telling the more than one hundred bishops and eight-hundred deputies collected, that “business as usual” was not going to get the job done, she added that that it was a “great Western heresy – that we can be saved as individuals, that any of us alone can be in right relationship with God.”

In a gathering dedicated to stressing the cause of unity, the “individualistic focus is a form of idolatry, for it puts me and my words in the place that only God can occupy…that heresy is one reason for the theme of this convention.”

The people here got it, and I don’t sense any particular distress because of her remarks challenging that salvation depends on an individual reciting a specific verbal formula about Jesus. The tapestry I see being woven is one of community and shared interests, of inclusion and reaching out. It remains to be seen if everyone gets stitched in.

The only people who will yell (and have yelled) about the collective aspect of salvation are the Calvinists for whom it is simply about "me, me, me; dammit, it's about me." For those who are in the catholic tradition, the notion that salvation is a collective process is absolutely orthodox.