Comments: more about ECUSA/Windsor resolutions

Mr. Sarmiento, you understand TEC process fine enough. The text you linked to mentions the text of "proposed resolutions" at various levels as being what they want. The translation of this is, resolutions they have tried to pass that have failed even at diocesan levels.

There are no GC resolutions that would be an alternative because even in their own provinces meeting in synod, the most receptive audiences imaginable, the network activists cannot pass resolutions that they have crafted to be pseudo-alternative resolutions they can then point to. They have no support even at this level.

So you see, they have not been able to offer alternative resolutions and present them because they have not been able to win enough support for even one.

In the old days we might call this evidence that they have no support. In the current time we might call it "a strange assertion."

Posted by RMF at Monday, 29 May 2006 at 3:29pm BST

But RMF,
It appears that individual dioceses, and even individual deputies (and even individual bishops) can propose resolutions.
So lack of support at provincial synodical meetings doesn't seem to be a bar to action.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Monday, 29 May 2006 at 4:37pm BST

I think the larger point, Simon (which you understand), is that the AAC/NACDAP folk have no intention of actually working *within* the decision-making structures of GC (most likely, for the reasons RMF outlines: they don't want to be overwhelmed w/ the *evidence* of "no support"). Sniping from the outside is more their style.

In legal terminology, I believe this is called "shopping for a venue": look for AAC/NACDAP proposals to appear among the *Primates* or *Lambeth* (and/or Panel of Reference)---and nowhere near GC.

Posted by J. C. Fisher at Monday, 29 May 2006 at 5:25pm BST

Simon, I believe that the proposed resolutions listed on the General Convention website (which you've linked to) have all been submitted by authorized committees. These are the only proposed resolutions which appear in the "Blue Book" which is sent out to all deputies and bishops. (These proposed resultions are still subject to debate and may be amended during the Convention.)

Individual Deputies and Bishops may in fact introduce legislation, but they must do so during the Convention itself. They cannot submit early as the committees do. At least, that's my understanding of the process.

Posted by Pen Brynisa at Monday, 29 May 2006 at 6:18pm BST

Simon, allow me to try to clarify my previous comment. I see it is confusing.

Your point I take is that lack of support at provincial synods is no bar to taking up the issue at GC. True. I offer the point about provincial synod activity only as evidence that at bodies wider than individual dioceses, there is no support for Network alternative resolutions or indeed, Network-backed proposals about what TEC must do.

Now, does any of this answer your original question of why no Network bishop has submitted an alternative resolution to even be considered? Perhaps not any better than the reply that by golly, there are alternatives, have you seen the ones passed by Diocese XXX??!

But perhaps we will see something else. We have until I believe the 2nd day of session at GC for resolutions to be presented and disseminated.

[FYI, Windsor related resolutions are being handled by the Special Legislative Committee on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, whose work overlaps with the Special Commission. There is more information on them at http://www.ecusa.anglican.org/3577_72769_ENG_HTM.htm ]

Posted by RMF at Monday, 29 May 2006 at 6:53pm BST

You are correct, Simon, which is what makes this all the stranger. All that is required is three deputies (or bishops). Surely there are enough "reasserters" who are deputies or bishops (such as those on the list of signatories) who could propose such resolutions. I do not know why they have not done so, and will not speculate on the matter.

Posted by Tobias S Haller BSG at Monday, 29 May 2006 at 9:33pm BST

What to expect from ECUSA GC 2006? Stay tuned for all the details. Meanwhile, the core directions or core initiatives from the new conservative sides are probably rather predictable. If we wish to anticipate what new conservative believers think ECUSA should be, should pledge, should live - well, we can just take a look at their organizations. In various founding documents, doctrines, statements of faith, and campaign for realignment plans - we will find it all written out, more or less. Two dimensions of the new conservatism probably stand out as dominant themes which might undergird any and all GC resolutions. One is: More Strict Conformity, Less Diversity Room. Two is: We are not just a smaller part of any larger whole in Christian religion; we are ALL of that whole, exclusively. These matters will be naturally defined according to conservative lexicons for a rather strict conservative Christian conformity. At the same time, the matter will also have to serve in reducing any wiggle room that may have happened to have emerged for diversites of ECUSA conscience or belief in connection with that matter. Equally likely, all of that in the new conservative resolution simply must embody the burning and convicted heart of the underlying new conservative sea change: We are no longer just an acknolweged part of the larger Anglican whole; we are, in fact, the true and real and only, Anglican Whole.

So. Two other predictions might follow. First, a piece of our Anglican legacy may get proposed in this or that conservative resolution. But now that legacy item must be more forcefully voted, as defined in favor of the 3-legged conservative campaign stool, Realigned. Yes, we will get some chances to vote for Anglican legacy items, but they must be newly understood to mean, only what the new conservatives define them to mean. This involves both the stricter conformity and the reduced diversity of Anglican conscience formerly mentioned. Equally important, the Anglican legacy item in the resolution must tilt even more towards the new Anglican Conservatism being the final whole of what that legacy item means to all of us. Or meant to all of the rest of us, in the first place. If you haven't been saying the creed or giving thanks in Eucharist according to the strict new conservative standards, why then, perhaps you have accidentally been mistaken?

One may also fairly expect resolutions which state and apply new conservative mores to this or that domain of life and/or of church life. Thus, LGBTQ folks will tend to get treated in these resolutions, in ways in which thank goodness conservative believers no longer feel free to treat either the poor or people of color. We can predict that those new conservative juries are still out deliberating, when it comes to domains related to the equality and status of women, of alternative thinkers, of non-conservative believers of many stripes, of believers in other world religions, and of non-believers.

The key change point here is that conservative religion is no longer just a part of the former and current ECUSA provincial church spectrum; but the whole, closed, settled. The stated conservative campaign is, after all, a campaign for realignment. Since the inclusion of conservative believers as part of the ECUSA spectrum has never really been in doubt; the change point must be that the new conservative final definition applies: We have met the real Jesus, and the rest of you have not.

Repeat this fundamental conservative rule, then: The only real Christians are the new conservative Christians. The remainder of the newish claim sounds like this: If I have to be just a part, together with other believers of different views or of different conscience, then I am being forced to betray what God has revealed to me, i.e., that I am the only true, real believer.

This new claim is still patently absurd if we try to pursue it in the midst of our acknowledge global diversities. Just as it was foolish for white people to claim it when faced with people of color. Just as it was foolish for men to claim it when faced with gifted, competent women. But it seems to have new force, and gain new traction as an obvious, absolute, complete Gold Standard of the New Conservative Anglicanism.

Posted by drdanfee at Monday, 29 May 2006 at 9:49pm BST

Simon and RMF, both of you are incorrect. You're correct, Simon, that resolutions can come from different sources, as designated by letter. They may come from agencies of the Episcopal Church or of General Convention ("A" resolutions), individual bishops ("B" resolutions), dioceses and provinces of the Episcopal Church ("C" resolutions), and individual deputies ("D" resolutions). Only the A resolutions are published before the Convention begins, coming as they do as a part of the reports of church agencies to the Convention. Other resolutions will be published for the Convention, and in fact resolutions may be introduced up to the end of business on the second day of the Convention. So, such resolutions may well have been submitted, or may well yet be submitted, without being in the list of A resolutions on line.

I expect such resolutions will be submitted, and that resolutions to refuse the Windsor process will also be submitted. We'll have to wait a couple of weeks yet to know for sure.

Posted by Marshall Scott at Monday, 29 May 2006 at 10:27pm BST

Marshall and Pen
If you look at the Resolutions website,
http://gc2006.org/legislation/
you will see dozens of B,C,D resolutions already published.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Tuesday, 30 May 2006 at 12:03am BST

Simon:

Thank you. I stand corrected.

And with that in mind, perhaps we should look at Resolutions from Dioceses and Provinces C004, C007, and C014. Newark is definitely a liberal diocese, and Alabama a largely conservative diocese (even though the bishop has vigorously resisted the AAC/ACN actions). I can't speak to Rochester.

Posted by Marshall Scott at Tuesday, 30 May 2006 at 3:49pm BST

Oh, and C009.

Posted by Marshall Scott at Tuesday, 30 May 2006 at 3:50pm BST

Thank you Simon for steering this committee-phobe through the intricacies of GC2006 – I am not quite sure what all this suggests, and it seems that many on the other side of the pond don’t either. In the light of what you are revealing, can anyone give a careful analysis of its significance?

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Wednesday, 31 May 2006 at 8:22am BST

I don't know that this will be the careful analysis Martin Reynolds is calling for, but perhaps it will become the seed for one.

The AAC in particular, but also the Network and allied groups seem to me to be structured along the lines of US issue advocacy groups. These have an operational logic all their own, which is not that of a party or affinity group within a legislative body.

Advocacy groups are extraconstitutional organizations operating from a position outside the legislature. They seek to rally the support of their "base" for positions on what is generally a very narrow spectrum of issues. While they try to influence the legislative process, they are not a part of it nor responsible to it. They are responsible only to their "base." This creates an internal dynamic in advocacy groups that drives them to take extreme positions, reject compromise as weakness, and always find what the legislature does do in respect to their issues somehow unsatisfactory.

All these hallmarks of the issue advocacy group, I think, can be seen in their equivalents within the Church. So while it's possible that the AAC and similar organizations are no longer participating in the polity of the Episcopal Church, it is also possible that behavior that reads (at least, to me) as schismatic is just typical advocacy group stuff.

The AAC, in other words, doesn't think of itself as part of the legislative process (i.e. General Convention and the polity of the Episcopal Church), but as standing outside it and exerting pressure on it. It would leave the hard work of crafting resolutions and getting them adopted to others who are part of the process, and it would be likely to criticize whatever resolutions are adopted at GC 2006 as unsatisfactory, always seeking new ways to activate its "base" and justify its continued existence.

Posted by Charlotte at Thursday, 1 June 2006 at 1:52am BST

Two reports relevant are available from ECUSA's PEP - Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh. Talk about liberation theology and dwelling in the belly of the beast - surely PEP is situated geographically and otherwise at Militant Conservative Ground Zero. That makes their witness all the more interesting, since we might otherwise be duped into thinking: (A) alternative witness is impossible in a Ground Zero MT Diocese - this is what MT ECUSAn's tend to claim, thanks to biblical, conservative, evangelica, or richly Nicenean (cleansing) truth; (B) PEP shows how that witness can still be embedded in individual and collective alternative following of Jesus - again rather different than MT Ground Zero Realignment claims possible; (C)PEP can cogently continue to participate, observe, comment - again disconfirming the total frames which claim exclusive possession of all the ECUSA-Anglican oxygen there simply is. Wow. Thanks PEP folks. God speed you in your lives, ministries, witness.

The first PEP report has already been referenced on TA, but here it is again: AT: http://progressiveepiscopalians.org/gc2006.html

It links to a two-page Via Media summary of the special commission report, at: http://progressiveepiscopalians.org/scecac_summ.pdf

The new second PEP essay is mainly about history and context: AT: http://progressiveepiscopalians.org/html/saving.html

Further PEP Commentary is AT: http://progressiveepiscopalians.org/html/news___comment.html

Thanks to PEP for continuing to offer a clear, coherent, thoughtful alternative model - even from Pittsburgh. Awesome. Awe-inspiring. And, no doubt to MT believers, Awful. Nevertheless, dear PEP, husband the fair ECUSA spaces until we can all agree to do so.

Posted by drdanfee at Saturday, 3 June 2006 at 2:40pm BST

Dear drdanfee, I'm continuously amazed at how both "sides" in the liberal-conservative debate both claim:
1. to be the true Christians
2. that the other "side" is doing horrendous things, and
3. their cause as completely just.

My basis for claiming the above is:

1. My beliefs about true Christian faith and conduct (eg sexual) are based on the most authoritative Christian revelations recorded in the New Testament, they are consistent with the teachings of the Church for the last 2000 years, and they are believed by most Christians alive today.
2. It is not liberal but conservative priests and churches who are finding that no adequate place of respect is being left for them by recent changes (and so being put into untenable positions theologically), being defrocked and thrown out of ECUSA because they can't accept the authority of the Bishops who make these changes - and loosing control of their church properties and funds.
3. We are trying to be Christians - followers of Christ. That means believing in Him and following His teachings; not our own ideas. The way that you are trying to be inclusive is not the way of inclusion in the Kingdom found in the teachings of the New Testament. Many forms of sexual behaviour are seen as sinful - excluding people from the Kingdom - so how can we teach people that they are ok really ? That would be condemning them to serious separation from God - at least in this life.

Posted by Dave at Sunday, 4 June 2006 at 11:06pm BST

But the fact is that they do both claim those things, Dave.

Whereas, in my view, although I am firmly on the opposite side of the argument to you, I do regard your view as credible from where you stand.

The real problem is not lack of coherence of any one view, but the lack of common ground and shared space other than that or organisational connection.

Since I have stopped attending Anglican services, this has become all the more obvious. When out of the day-to-day fray, the arguments appear ever more vicious - because what we have are two entirely separate worldviews trying to continue operation within the same organisational space.

Posted by Merseymike at Monday, 5 June 2006 at 1:41am BST
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