Another day I’m glad I’m not an Episcopalian

It isn’t just the bishop’s statement that came out today from New Orleans that makes me glad I’m not an Episcopalian but the episcopacy itself. If this is leadership . . . .

I don’t even know where to begin, but I can imagine that today will be the first day some others won’t be an Episcopalians either.

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.


  1. My Dad’s cousin was an Episcopal priest. After he retired from his parish, he worked part-time doing very high Church services at a big Episcopal Church on Chicago’s Northside.

    He probably had more gay males attend those services on a Sat night than the entire number of UU’s who would show up the next day at all five Chicago UU Churches.

    I always thought that odd. But I suspect all the Anglo-Catholic pagentry that made me uncomfortable; brought comfort to those attending these services.

    The common denominator there seems to be doctrine didn’t matter much.

  2. This statement by the bishops is an attempt to respond to specific requests made by the Anglican primates. In terms of what the bishops were asked to do, it is still a liberal statement that won’t come close to satisfying those who want the Episcopal Church to back down on its support for gay and lesbian people. Note that the bishops do not back down on what Episcopalians currently are doing, although of course progressives are disappointed that it’s not more “prophetic” and does not push the church beyond what the General Convention has authorized.

    It may sound to some as if it conveys “a message of intolerance and division,” but I think the bishops’ response needs to be read in the context of their March statement to the Episcopal Church, which is a very clear statement of inclusion:

    It is incumbent upon us as disciples to do our best to follow Jesus in the increasing experience of the leading of the Holy Spirit. . . . We proclaim the Gospel of what God has done and is doing in Christ, of the dignity of every human being, and of justice, compassion, and peace. We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ there is no Jew or Greek, no male or female, no slave or free. We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ all God’s children, including women, are full and equal participants in the life of Christ’s Church. We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ all God’s children, including gay and lesbian persons, are full and equal participants in the life of Christ’s Church. We proclaim the Gospel that stands against any violence, including violence done to women and children as well as those who are persecuted because of their differences, often in the name of God. The Dar es Salaam Communiqué is distressingly silent on this subject. And, contrary to the way the Anglican Communion Network and the American Anglican Council have represented us, we proclaim a Gospel that welcomes diversity of thought and encourages free and open theological debate as a way of seeking God’s truth. If that means that others reject us and communion with us, as some have already done, we must with great regret and sorrow accept their decision.

  3. I have heard defenses like Philo’s and I am not convinced. My complaints include, but are not restricted to,

    1. A subtle shift, where B033 rests more squarely on Teh Gays and not just the general those-whose-mode-of-life-causes-heartburn, including divorced and remarried bishops or bishops without Y chromosomes.

    2. How bishops who deplored B033 — yes, Chane of Washington, I mean you — voted for it.

    3. The continuing fallacy of the middle, that accounts the Inverts as being just as bad as the Schismatics.

    4. facile defenses of non-heterosexuals in the civil world, making secularism a more attractive option than Christian faith.

    5. The bald gamesmanship that suggests that everything will be better at General Convention 2009.

    I expected about what happened. I expected “calm and reasonable voices” to tell the Unsettled Homos to be patient. But it seems to me that the very system is stacked against those who wait.

    I’m not an Episcopalian — and never, ever will be — so I don’t have to suffer this.

    But the only fair option some Episcopalians have is to vote with their feet. (A few angry phone calls to diocesan development offices would help, too.)

    The powers that be will take you for granted otherwise.

  4. I agree with your assessment Scott, and have said as much in my blog (but less eloquently). At the end of the day, in a world where people are still starving to death in spite of technology which makes food readily available, people die from lack of potable water, insert human suffering here, that a bunch of well-healed extravagantly bedecked, wealthy (well the overall Communion seems to be well off) clerics are spending so much time and resources on homosexuality is just shameful.

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