Saturday, September 21, 2013

Initial Report on Task Force for Re-imagining The Episcopal Church

An initial report from the group charged to investigate structure in the Episcopal Church has been released.  Read it here.

My initial comments:

A first read of this document leaves me hopeful and concerned.  The basic premises of moving to a more localized structure are hopeful.  They reflect, in simpler terms, that all politics is local.  Yes "politics" is a word we are uncomfortable with, but our polity is what separates us from many other Christians (denominational or not) and has made changes in the Episcopal Church more responsive to the shift in cultural understanding of minorities.  

All politics may be said to be local, but that speaks to implementation.  I read and am encouraged by words like "collaboration."  While implementation may differ in various localities, I fear that allowing this to be applied to its extreme will result in a "states rights" mentality of what it means to be Episcopalian.  We have seen what that has lead to in US governance.  Applications of socially progressive policies blocked, slowed and reversed.

Making our leadership too “lean” may be penny wise and pound foolish.  Structures that allow the development of replicable programs must be maintained.  Especially in the most vulnerable of small parishes, the lack of resources to do not allow them to think “outside the box.” Without those resources and support, there is little possibility of growth and more reason for the status quo to reign in an environment where a small group of active, well meaning people avoid change.

The other danger in a leadership that is pared down too far, is the control which one small group or even one person can wield with impunity.

It is clear that as we re-imagine our structure, we must be nimble but also safeguard the dignity of every human being.

Neil Houghton, St. John's Honeoeye Falls, NY
Episcopal Diocese of Rochester
GC 2009 and 2012 L4

Friday, September 13, 2013

When Well Meaning Americans Impose Our Reality on Others

The basic outline of this story is that a Anglican Bishop from Southern Malawi was appointed to a position at Dartmouth.  "Knowing" that all Anglican Africans are homophobic, a campaigned was launched to have the appointment overturned. Dartmouth rescinded the appointment.

Rt. Rev. James Tenatenga
But this is a much more nuanced situation as a letter carrying the signatures of notable civil rights activists, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, reveals.

Read the letter here.

The current trend to apply simplistic, good vs bad thinking  to issues, domestic and international, in all points of the political spectrum, makes this a cautionary, and certainly sad, tale.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Keith Olbermann is BACK! Yeah.

Since Olbermann had to sign an agreement with Disney/ABC/ESPN not to say anything "political," we can be fairly certain this was cleared with the higher ups.