Tuesday, July 31, 2012

My good friend Lisa, in her post today, alerted us Piskie readers to the actions of the Diocese of South Carolina, which she charged might be "secessionist and duplicitous".

I responded, because it showed me the clear, highly charged path between conditions and actions. It's almost as clear as the path that creates a lightning bolt between cloud and ground:

Since 2009, TEC has not received a pledge from the DofSC greater than 0.7% of its income. By contrast, even the DofLouisiana has pledged in the 10-11% range; NC is at 21%, and VA is above 17%. SC is de facto in secession.

I have two proposals, one hard line, the other softer. Hardline? Adopting the principle that one puts one's money where one's mouth is, I propose we replace the entire SC standing committee and bishop based on their failure to do their part to uphold the Church to which they claim to belong. IOW, show me your commitment to TEC by your pledge and its fulfillment. This is the God of Judgement, in spades. There will be winners and losers.

The softer line entails more work. Organize. Create a coalition. Invade the state as CORE did the South in 1961 with its Freedom Rides. Enlist Integrity, HRC, and any other organizations willing to participate. Visit the churches in the DofSC. All of them, if you have the staff. Engage the vestries and clergy. Ask for time to speak to "adult formation". Put human faces to labels like "gay" and "lesbian". You want friends? Be a friend. There are dozens of ways by which you can do this, you know them, you can't do it just by e-mail or Twitter or blogs. You have to be there and make the commitment to be a real friend. Visit a sick relative, hug a stranger, make a phone call in support of a parishioner's need. The softer line converts adversaries into friends. Net, no losers.

The bishop's stance? Up to his congregations. The change starts from the ground up. When the civil rights movement changed us forever, some fifty years ago, did you see the change coming from the top down? Weren't you listening?
 I recognize the risk I have created, that I might be thrust into a leadership role in such an effort. Understand that I greatly prefer a consultative role. I recognize that such a role transfers responsibility to another, whose values may not coincide with my own. I have not given sufficient thought to the morality of such a decision.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Update on my final straw

I have no way of knowing that my earlier post was read and understood, but roughly two weeks before the start of General Convention, I was asked to be the network admin for the advocacy group. So, at my first General Convention, I was there helping to set up, operate and close the group's operation. I was even asked if I would serve again in three years. Yes, I replied, but give me some booth time so I can meet deputies and bishops. IMHO, rotating some assignments would help the entire organization improve its perspective on how it fits into the larger community.

It was rewarding to meet deputies and bishops from my diocese, another bishop whom I am privileged to call my friend, and yet other bishops whose posts I have read or who I want to count as friends. The Episcopal Church is an amazing family, I'm barely able to describe how we all relate to each other in any other terms. Being at The Great Episcopal Sausage Factory is an opportunity to watch the Spirit, unseen yet not unperceived, work to bring the Kingdom a little bit closer. As I have experienced the Spirit in a loving relationship, it can be gritty and very real, and still be love.

So, being called back into community, even after having shaken the dust off my sandals, so to speak, I am once again ready to serve. And I will.

Chick-Fil-A wants a return of patriarchy

Interesting comment by Biblically-challenged Dan Cathy, President of Chick-Fil-A:
"We are very much supportive of the family -- the biblical definition of the family unit."
Hmmm, what would that be? Well, for certain, it's not "one man and one woman" in a peer-to-peer relationship. It's one man in a superior relationship to at least one woman. For King Solomon, it was one man--him--and 700 wives. Oh, and to keep tradition alive, he also had 300 concubines. Talk about a sex drive, wowee! He even made time for the Queen of Sheba, giving her "all her desire, whatsoever she asked". If this is the "biblical definition of the family unit," count me in!

The traditional middle-Eastern definition of marriage is one man and one or more women, all of whom are considered property. Women are subordinate in all things to men. In biblical times, consensual sex was unknown or even forbidden. I read somewhere (but don't have the reference), that in Assyria ca. 1000 BCE, consensual sex was a capital offense. Men had sex with their subordinates: women, slaves, apprentices etc. Sodomy was an act of domination of one person over another, which is why it was eschewed in Mosaic law. The servant of the centurion that Jesus healed more than likely satisfied his master's sexual needs, not just his need for polished armor. Even today, traditional weddings feature the father "giving" his daughter to the groom, as if he had received a good bride-price for her.

So, when Dan Cathy defends his anti-gay stance and contributes millions to "Christian" organizations that oppose homosexuality (however they define it), I infer that he longs for a system of patriarchy that we in the Western world abandoned in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Mr. Cathy is welcome to his beliefs. Most of our society, however, is not there with him. And, I'm not in any of his restaurants for the foreseeable future.