Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Do you want fries with that?

To say we are getting a little punchy at this point is to understate the obvious. As we sang All Things Bright and Beautiful this afternoon - at a pitch that basses probably loved but altos definitely did not - John Talbird and I began to waltz. Lynn Schmissrauter took the afternoon off and sent us cookies. We did remember our manners and shared them with Mississippi and Rochester, the deputations to our left and rear.

I would love to tell you we did lots of good stuff today; however, even though we have passed a special order that puts us in speed mode - 10 minutes for discussion and then vote - we are being slowed down by a group of dioceses that move all sorts or procedural things and ask for points of personal privilege. It feels to me like this is being done intentionally and I can only think that the point is either to get us so backed up that controversial resolutions cannot be heard or that the point is merely to stall convention entirely. I do hope I am wrong about this but the problem with having a legislative system is that this sort of thing can happen.

We have passed D025 fairly overwhelmingly. Bishops got it first, made a slight amendment that I like very much - pointing out that there is a mystery of the Spirit involved in being called - and then we approved their language. Now it depends on who you talk to what the effect of this resolution is. First of all, let me say that the committee that crafted it, World Missions, was very sensitive to the fact that many would be upset and took that into account. I have rarely seen a more pastorally worded document. Second, I need to point out that gays and lesbians have never been barred from the ordination processes according to the canons. Each diocese chooses, though, to interpret those canons and in our own Diocese, the policy is that we do not send postulants to seminary unless they are married or celibate. Celibacy applies to anyone not married and not just to gays and lesbians. I am required, for instance, to remain celibate unless I remarry (God forbid!).

So I am on the side of those who would argue that we have affirmed what has been in place for many years. Nowhere in the resolution does it say that we will consent to the election of a partnered gay/lesbian bishop or that we intend to elect a bunch of them. Am I picking nits? I'm sure many will argue that this is the case.

We are waiting to see what, if anything, will come from the Bishops on same-gender blessings. My committee passed a substitute resolution yesterday morning which was largely crafted by the six bishops on the committee. At the moment, it seems to be stalled in the HOB and I understand a small group of bishops are working on a rewrite. I will know more when our committee meets again tomorrow morning. I confess it is beginning to seem like we will have more meetings than there are days left to have them on.

Tonight, we had our East Tennessee dinner at a very good restaurant. There are enough of us here counting alternates and a few spouses and our communications director that we needed two tables. I know my table went solidly for the seafood. I couldn't tell if the other table did too but it looked like there were some dissenters who went for the beef instead. Thanks to Annie and Charlie for hosting our time together. We do have a good time.

No comments: