Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Sideshow Bob

It looks like there's a chance that there will be another actively gay bishop in the Episcopal Church. Robert Taylor, dean of St. Marks Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle, is one of five finalists for bishop in the Diocese of California, according to a story in the Seattle Times. Although some would say that such a consecration in the wake of all the troubles stirred up by the consecration of Gene Robinson would be somewhat impolitic, ol' Bob Taylor sees it somewhat differently:
I would say that the major global issue for the Anglican Communion is not the discussion of human sexuality. That's a side show. It's about the ministry we should be engaged in in ending global poverty.
Sure, Bob, go ahead and end global poverty. You could probably do it just by redistributing the resources of the members of the Episcopal church. This kind of statement says something about the person who made it. Either he's completely out of touch with reality, or he's desperately hoping that nobody will notice the elephant in the room. That one over there, defecating on the carpet.
The announcement of the finalists was made Monday morning at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, home of the Diocese of California, which has about 27,000 members in the Bay Area.
No, not at Grace Cathedral! Surely you're joking! What a coincidence!

Also among the finalists is Bonnie Perry, rector of All Saints' Church in Chicago, who is also openly gay (kills two birds with one stone).
That's not meant to be a political statement, said the Rev. Jack Eastwood, an adviser to Bishop Swing.
Bishop Swing. This just gets better and better.
Becoming embroiled in his denomination's battle over gay clergy "is not a role that I've certainly sought in any way," [Taylor] said. "It is my hope that if I were to be elected, we would be putting energy — and I want to put energy — into much more vital, pressing, interesting conversations."
Sure, let's just ignore the whole thing. Folks who think that Christianity is about following Christ and his teachings are not vital, they're boring, and we don't want to have any uninteresting conversations with them.

That would just be a sideshow, Bob.

2 comments:

Sara Belly Babes said...

Why do you think it's important that the people are gay? In what way, for you, does this violate their position?

Scott Carson said...

I'm not sure what position of theirs you have in mind here, but the debate over the consecration of actively gay folks has to do with the nature of the Sacraments. By definition, people of the same sex cannot have a Sacramental marriage, so sexual relations between them are always adulterous.

Now, I suppose it's possible that a gay couple can live together chastely, in which case no adultery is involved. There's certainly no reason that I can think of why gay folks shouldn't live together chastely (though I can say that a rather large number of my friends are gay, and few, if any, of them live chastely; but that may not be relevant--surely it's at least possible to live chastely for anyone, gay or straight). But when you start consecrating gay bishops who maintain doctrines and live lives that are contrary to the Magisterium, you make it ever less likely that reunion with Rome will be possible. This is not, of course, the stated aim of every Episcopalian--arguably it is of interest to only a very few of them. But there are many within the Anglican tradition--I was one of them until I converted--who believe that it is important to live in a manner that is faithful to the Magisterium not only because it keeps alive the possibility of reunion with Rome but because it seems to be what is required of Christian life.

Consequently there is a great deal of unhappiness and frustration in some quarters that unilateral and undemocratic decisions are being made within a tiny tiny sector of the Anglican communion that wind up having rather disastrous effects on the communion as a whole. That seems not only unwise, but unjust as well.

Certainly I have no real objection to programs aimed at ending poverty, but I think it is really quite disingenuous for anyone to suggest that the discussion of the unilateral abandoning of a committment to the Tradition regarding the Sacraments is a "sideshow". To say such a thing is a slap in the face of thousands of faithful Christians to whom the Sacramental life is the centerpiece of Christian living. To say that such folks are boring or somehow not in touch with the more "vital" pursuits of the Church is not merely false, it is arrogantly and hubristically uncharitable, and it invites parody.