Thursday, July 9, 2009

Day 2.

It was an interesting experience sitting in a legislative committee hearing yesterday where no one spoke against a resolution. On the floor was a resolution to give the bishops of the five states where there is marriage equality the option of allowing their clergy to respond pastorally to those in same-gender relationships. In other words, to receive the church's blessing on their state-sanctioned marriages. I left near the end but understand that a committee member did stand up after all the speakers were finished and said that he felt he should "represent" those who didn't agree, and proceeded to make four or five points on the con side. I'm a little surprised this was allowed since the occasion was a hearing. As another delegate pointed out, the members were supposed to be listening to the statements offered and then discussing them in the following committee session. And I'm not sure by what authority this particular member 'represented' others -- whomever they might be.

That doesn't mean, however, that I'm opposed to the opposition, as it were. But I do believe folks should speak up for themselves and not present testimony on behalf of some anonymous "others." One of the differences at this convention is that the rigid opposition to the same-sex issues is not present -- the former bishops and their followers in Ft Worth, San Joaquin, Pittsburgh, and Quincy have left for the ACNA. But pros and cons are important. I hope there will be real debate and discussion today at the meetings where other topics under the same-sex umbrella are discussed. We'll see.

Later this afternoon is also the first of two open discussions by the House of Deputies on B033, the 2006 resolution passed in the last minutes of that convention under the guise of keeping our Presiding Bishop "at the table" of the primates of the Anglican Communion. It was passed under great pressure and with great regret by many who voted in favor of it. It spawned the phrase, "manner of life," as a description of honestly and openly gay folks in or not in relationships whose "manner of life" might offend others. It was basically a moratorium on ordaining honestly and openly gay bishops. There are two feelings at this triennium about B033 -- that we need to repeal it or that we ignore it and move on. I'm of the former opinion. I voted in favor of it for the reason previously mentioned, deeply regretted my vote, and would like to vote to repeal it so there is no question that this is no longer the mind of the Episcopal Church. So it should be a lively and good discussion this afternoon.

Living in the Anaheim Hilton, I've learned quickly that Disneyland has fireworks every night about 9:30. Boom. Boom. Boom boom. Boom. Boomboomboomboomboomboomboomboom. BOOM. 'Nuff said.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has appeared. I got a photo of him in the exhibit hall but accidently deleted it. So I found some others on line. He's been meeting with various small groups of people, ostensibly to listen. That's good since the 1998 Lambeth Conference resolved that there should be a listening process in the Communion with regard to same-sex issues. He refused to attend the last triennial to listen but sent his emissaries to pressure the convention toward what was eventually B033. He's here now and listening to people of The Episcopal Church for the first time in his tenure as ABC -- I think that's about 7 years. I won't make any remarks about slow boats or lack of leadership or any of those things.
He's supposed to present a Bible study of sorts at the community Eucharist later this morning. But other than that, he's pretty much being protected from those who might want to enter into open conversation with him. One of the interesting comments that came out of a meeting was his concerns with Episcopal Church polity -- something about other bishops of the Communion only want to converse with the bishops of TEC and not clergy and laity. So our polity is a problem for him. As another person said, maybe the polity of those bishops-only bishops is a problem for us!

Just another light-filled side of religious institutions, eh?

On the other hand, I made some good connections for a planned giving campaign and picked up some Episcopaliana.

There's a reporter this morning on the local CBS station and her name is Amelia Earhart. She reports from a helicopter. Sure doesn't look like the Amelia Earhart I've read about. Only in California, I guess.

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