Saturday, July 11, 2009

And so it goes.

Yesterday morning was the Committee of the Whole session that opened the microphone to 30 randomly chosen deputies to speak on B033 from GC006. There was no motion on the floor; each speaker had two minutes for remarks related to the topic. Most spoke in favor of getting rid of it; 8 spoke to maintain it. And then we were finished, and on to the next order of business. There are still many hearings happening over the sexuality issues. I must say, though, that I've attended only two of them because we hear basically the same statements at each one. Most speakers are in favor of the full inclusion of all people in the sacraments of the church. The question really comes down to how the Houses will vote when the resolutions come before them. There's speculation that the bishops are going to wimp out (see Gene Robinson's blog and Lisa Fox's blog) and choose some non-existent Anglican unity and a few loud conservative primates over the people of God's church. That's not an unrealistic concern; we've seen it happen before. How does one change the minds of bishops who are either scared (sometimes camouflaged by words like 'carefully discerning' or 'responsible for the unity of the church' or 'not ready yet' ...) or think they know better than the people of God (sometimes described by words like 'princes (or princesses) of the church' or 'spiritual fathers and mothers' or 'we're in charge, not you').

I suspect some individual or small group 'lobbying,' either by bishops who have the courage to stand up for the Gospel or by small groups of deputations who have the courage to stand up to their bishops will be the only way to change their minds. So we pray and live in hope that the Holy Spirit can work through these Christians to reach the souls of those bishops who lack courage or who are full of themselves.

There were a couple of interesting exchanges on the floor of the HoD yesterday between the President of the HoD and a deputy from Dallas. He didn't follow the exact protocol of talking to the Chair and was chastised, "Deputy, let me remind you that decorum is expected in this house." Later, in an attempt to discuss something with the chair, he made the mistake of speaking before the Chair had finished. "Deputy, you will not speak until I have finished." SLAP(metaphorically, of course)!

There have been times of laughter, as well, but generally the HoD sessions move along in order and on time, closely controlled by the Chair. There was one point, in one of the sessions, where a deputy came to the mike to question something and the Chair called the chairperson of Dispatch of Business to the podium. When asked about the question, all he could say was, 'Ooooops.' Coming from someone who had, until that point, attended to every jot and tittle, it really was hilarious and the House roared. I hope the Chair found it as funny; it was hard to tell.

We did pass a resolution on supporting missionaries yesterday -- over $1.5M in each of the next three years. The Episcopal Church has around 70 missionaries around the world and this is supposed to provide them with health insurance and some other financial resources. I hope this becomes an increasingly important budget item in the future. The world continues to shrink and we -- as the United States and the Episcopal Church -- need to increase our reaching out to share what we can with those who are in such need of food and medical support and housing and safety.

I'm a little pre-occupied because I just received an email from my hanai nephew in Romania that he was diagnosed on Thursday with swine flu. He was running a fever and his parents took him to the hospital. Since he was not in contact -- as far as I know -- with anyone who had it while he was here, this is both surprising and disturbing. For some reason he's unable to write for the next week; I'm trying to get in touch with his parents. Actually I'm a lot pre-occupied about this...

Legislative sessions this morning and afternoon, and then seminary receptions this evening, as well as a dinner where Ed and Patti Browning will be given a peace and justice award.

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