Sunday, 7 May 2006

heterosexual male elected in California

There is extensive news coverage this morning of the election by the Diocese of California of a heterosexual male as its diocesan bishop.

The BBC Sunday radio programme has an interview (about 3 minutes duration) with Craig Martin of the diocesan nominating committee.
Go 16 minutes into the recording, available here (Real Audio). (Better link on Monday).

Episcopal News Service California diocese elects Mark Andrus as bishop
Living Church Alabama Suffragan Elected Bishop of California

Reactions came from:
The Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes A Statement by Bishop Duncan on the California Election
The American Anglican Council The American Anglican Council (AAC) Comments on the Episcopal Election in the Diocese of California
Integrity html copy here of PDF original here
The Bishop of Upper South Carolina, Dorsey Henderson and Canon Kendall Harmon, S.C. bishop reacts to California election

Newspaper reports:
New York Times Neela Bannerjee Election of Episcopal Bishop Avoids Inflaming a Crisis
Washington Post John Pomfret Episcopalians Reject Gay Candidates
San Francisco Chronicle Episcopalians avoid rift in picking bishop
San Jose Mercury News Episcopalians avoid schism
Chicago Tribune All Saints keeps its pastor
Los Angeles Times Episcopalians Elect Straight Bishop in S.F.

Update
Here is a eyewitness description of the election by Karen on Kinesis Habemus episcopam!

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 7 May 2006 at 12:17pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: ECUSA
Comments

Bizarre. What matters is what the person believes in and their suitability for the role, not their sexual orientation. Given the results I am sure that many gay Anglicans and supporters of change voted for the eventual winner(who, from what I have read of his outlook, is a Matthew Fox-influenced Christian Universalist!)

Posted by: Merseymike on Sunday, 7 May 2006 at 2:05pm BST

I would have hoped Thinking Anglicans would have done better than to repeat a Reuters headline that indicates a person's gender and orientation is more important than the person themselves and the job.

Sorry, Simon. You struck out on this one.

Posted by: mumcat on Sunday, 7 May 2006 at 4:37pm BST

Mumcat: In this case, the person's gender and sexuality is relevant. The only reason Reuters would carry this story is because of the relevance to the wider church--and it is relevant because of the gay nominees.

Posted by: dancingphil on Sunday, 7 May 2006 at 5:10pm BST

No Mumcat, it's absolutely spot on!

Whether we like it or not, this is what the combined leadership of the Careys, Rowans, Akinolas and Duncans of this World has reduced the Anglican Communion of churches to.

It makes one long for the not so distant days, when sexual ethics were about chastity and marriage was a lesser celibacy for those week in the flesh...

(and no one dreamt that Christianity was soon to become a heterosexism cum fertility cult, obsessed with bits ;=)

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Sunday, 7 May 2006 at 5:43pm BST

Well done Simon. Far from having struck out on this one, you showed a fine sense of irony in the use of that headline (a necessary quality for a follower of the one who told us to pluck out our eyes and to follow camels through needles!)

Posted by: Justin Lewis-Anthony on Sunday, 7 May 2006 at 5:54pm BST

Oh, no, mumcat. That is the most important thing about this election and the only reason it is interesting to non-Californians.

Posted by: Andrew Brown on Sunday, 7 May 2006 at 7:12pm BST

Oh I think the Reuters headline is funny, and probably intended to be.

What's the old saw? "Dog bites man." Not news. "Man bites dog." News.

Maybe Reuters is in a mood of gentle self-mockery after joining the chorus of press voices from afar that had decided California 'had to' elect a gay or lesbian bishop.

Or maybe Reuters is not indulging in humor or irony and just has a tin ear.

All that I have heard about Mark Andrus is encouraging for everyone in that diocese.

The fundagelicals will still find reason to disapprove and lift the hems of their garments as they try and tiptoe out of the Episcopal church, carrying as much of the silver and plate as they can.

Surely the leaked letter of a couple of years ago, and their setting up a clergy pension fund indicate what will happen next. No matter what gencon does, it will never be enough to appease them. I hope enough people realize this to prevent gencon from passing some of the more poisonous special commission resolutions.

Meanwhile, I rejoice with all four dioceses, even though Tenn must be groaning at starting all over again.

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Sunday, 7 May 2006 at 8:15pm BST

"the only reason it is interesting to non-Californians"

Therein lies the source of many of our troubles. The complete disconnect between the thoughts and motivations of the electors and the interest of the rest of the world leads to enourmous misunderstanding and, eventually, trouble.

I spoke with some of the electors this morning. There is a lot of important work to do in this diocese. There seemed broad agreement that any of the candidates would have been an effective leader for that work, but Bishop Andrus, besides his experience and obvious personal gifts, has one important characteristic. He does not excite the interest of the rest of the Anglican world. He's boring, to everyone outside the diocese, so he has a good chance of being left alone to to do this important work.

Don't be fooled into thinking that California did this as a favor or gift to the rest of the communion; folks out here are quick to point out that the Anglican Communion has indicated no interest in the pressing issues of our community and parishes. The attention of the broader church has not been particularly helpful, and I sense a low-grade resentment amongst the folks out here. I wonder if others in the diocese get the same impression.

The electors I have spoken to all indicated a strong feeling of the Spirit at work; that we have been led to the shepherd we needed and that, as one said this morning, "now we can get off the world stage and get to work."

Posted by: GA Dean on Sunday, 7 May 2006 at 10:35pm BST

Are We Really All Anglicans In Deep Crisis? The realignment folks feel free to disrupt and impose upon others because they alone are correct in their doctrines or beliefs. The life they burden or break is little important to them: alternative witness, service, or discipleship simply merits no recognition according to their preferred codes or definitions. It is easy to see this as yet another bald example of that sophomore Ethics 101 class fallacy: The Ends Justifies The Means. The realignment folks have such a deep sense of their own exclusive rightness that they feel they simply must interrupt anything else that anybody else might be doing to follow Jesus, to correct those people and conform them. But upon considering things, I provisionally conclude that the entire crisis is almost completely of their own clever manufacture. Then on second thought I also provisionally conclude that this manufactured sense of total crisis craftily serves to set the strategic stage for me to be rescued. Guess who is going to rescuse me from this crisis? Guess how they are going to rescue me? I cannot avoid predicting that I will just happen to get rescued by the very people who have forced the definitions of crisis upon me, and that my means of probable rescue boil down to three familiar means: Dogma, Obedience, and Conformity.

Wow. Wasn't that a close call? Only by the sheer grace of God was I saved from: relativism, modernity, pluralism, diversity, and other simply terrible fates. Wow.

If realignment folks mean that they are in that sort of crisis, I feel for them. I really do. But they set themselves up for that crisis, just by their preferred basic approach to following Jesus. Maintaining old, closed objective certainties when our fundamental paradigm of reality is suggesting that all realities are instead: entangled, superpositioned, and/or in dynamic processes of evolving mutual change influences - well no wonder we can get a sense of clashing world views. We are so far, post-Einstein, that even Einstein wasn't happy about all the areas that were opening up, at the most basic levels of reality.

The existence of varied points of view – in society or in church – is not a problem for me. Honest. The constant emergence of new empirical data, leading to new theories, is not a problem for me. Honest. Keeping my allegiances provisional and open-ended is not a problem for me. Honest. Talking with other people of a different faith, or of no faith, is not a problem for me. Honest. Having more than one way to read my scriptures is not a problem for me. Honest. Conservative believers are not a problem for me, honest, until they insist that how they think and do and feel and live trumps all the rest of us. I simply do not feel that any of these themes is nothing but a deep crisis theme. That is why I suspect that the total sense of deep crisis is a manufactured artifact, serving strategic campaign ends.

I like having many different open windows on the truth, because the complete truth is by all common sense accounts – large, complicated, and hardly ever absolutely and finally seen or understood from any single, closed angle. I like being able to look back at myself, and at my own daily life, from any number of different angles as I glance in this mirror, then that one. I feel I am thereby given glimpses of aspects of myself or my daily living to which I might otherwise easily be blinded or unaware. I enjoy or profit from looking back at myself as reflected in the eyes, minds, hearts of many different others. I profit from our common work to repair the world, even though we are not all the same, to say the least. I accept my daily responsibility to discern distortions and errors, and to learn from possible mistakes.

Being generally in the mix, just this way, is not a deep, innate, airless crisis for me - but rather a very great, very joyous blessing. Thank goodness. Thank God.

Posted by: drdanfee on Friday, 12 May 2006 at 10:35pm BST

Cynthia: The conservatives are certainly trying to tiptoe out of ECUSA with all the silver they can carry. As a former member of a very Pro-Duncan Parish, I learned first hand how conservatives are underminding anyone who does not affirm their orthodox theology. They will even attack you as you worship. I once was true Via Media, now I want my church back from the bullies.

Bob

Posted by: Bob in Pittsburgh on Saturday, 13 May 2006 at 1:06am BST
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