Monday, June 19, 2006

The New PB. Tonight we had a Father's Day celebration over at my wife's brother's house -- most of her family was there and we had a lot of intergenerational chatter. We got around to discussing The Who and our favorite songs. The consensus favorite song: "Won't Get Fooled Again" (" the new boss / same as the old boss..."). Then I got home and heard the news about the election of Rt Revd Katharine Jefferts Schori to be the next Presiding Bishop of the ECUSA and wondered if this was prophetic.

I have no problem with the fact that the presiding bishop elect is a woman. In fact, like Ruth Gledhill, I feel "a shiver of excitement at the election of a woman to the position of Presiding Bishop..." Will it cause problems within the Anglican Communion, the fact that KJS is a woman? No, I don't think so -- some consternation perhaps, but the Primates have long ago looked at this issue and determined they would
respect the decision and attitudes of other provinces in the ordination or consecration of women to the episcopate, without such respect necessarily indicating acceptance of the principles involved, maintaining the highest possible degree of communion with the provinces which differ.
Moreover, they agreed they would "exercise courtesy and maintain communications with bishops who may differ, and with any woman bishop, ensuring an open dialogue in the Church to whatever extent communion is impaired."

They decided this 18 years ago -- at the 1988 Lambeth Conference. Unlike the American Bishops who will pledge anything, knowing their words are meaningless, the African bishops and the other bishops and ministers of the Global South are men of their word.

So, although they might differ with the Americans on the ordination of a woman as priest or bishop, this will not be what causes a problem.

Experience? Yes, her resume is thin. She has never led a parish. It's only been eleven years since she was ordained. On one hand, that gives me pause -- but then the Lord of Israel sometimes calls a young shepherd, a young betrothed woman, a young sailor named Nicholas.

No, it's not her gender, nor her experience which troubles me. It's her actions.

She is a strong supporter of the ordination of VGR; a strong supporter of Integrity; an opponent of, among other things, the Articles of Religion, the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilaterial of 1886, 1888, and the obedience to "the teaching and direction of Our Lord Jesus Christ as set forth in Holy Scripture." According to John Burwell, "she left the 2003 convention and instituted same-sex rites for her parishes and missions."

In other words, she appears to be just another in a long line of apostate clergy. And I weep.

Now, I don't mean to give up hope -- the most encouraging comment I've seen was something Kendall Harmon posted before the election:
Bishop Schori is a very interesting wild card–I think she is the person least beholden to the Episcopal Church “system.” We shall just have to wait and see.
If he is right about that and if she is faithful to the Lord -- perhaps has a Thomas à Becket conversion -- then the VGRs and the Spong's of the world could be begging someone to rid them of this troublesome priest.

In any event, I do not trust in men, I trust God. Psalm 20.

[Note: As can be seen, I started writing this when I couldn't get to sleep -- I didn't publish it initially -- it has since been revised and extended.]