Tuesday, February 20, 2007

What the conflict in our church boils down to, once again, is interpretation of scripture. I agree with Professor Phyllis Trible, who said, "The Bible is a mixture of blessings and curses. It doesn't speak with a single voice. It has competing voices, contradictions in it. As it moves through history, it encounters new settings and new occasions and we're ever called upon to do something with this text."

The Bible seems to have become a golden calf to many who are limited in their ability to see beyond the stranglehold of patriarchy practiced in ancient times and throughout history. Letting go of the power and control exercised by authoritarian male leadership is just too threatening to a majority of Christian believers.

Policy in the Episcopal Church is decided by General Convention which meets every 3 years and includes the House of Deputies (lay and clergy, men and women), the House of Bishops (men and women, but mostly men), and the Presiding Bishop (as of 2006, a woman). It's quite democratic and has led to innovative actions.

The unhappy Primates who are raising most of the current ruckus seem to want to bypass the House of Deputies and not have to acknowledge the authority of our new Presiding Bishop, no matter how many voted for the path we've taken, and regardless of the vows they took when ordained. Most of their demands are addressed to the House of Bishops and Bishops who are not members of The Episcopal Church. Simply put, they need a Pope. They need the Good Ole Boy club to maintain control. They are the schoolyard bullies who will kick dirt in everybody's faces because they aren't able to dominate all the games and spoil the fun for all like they did at one time. They have been suspended and cry foul, appealing to authorities who are not even in the same school system.

It will be a while before the other children feel free to play unencumbered by their tyranny, but they eventually will. Are the bullies to be expelled, will they reform, will they change schools, will they quit school altogether? Time will tell. One thing is for sure, the playground is much more appealing when the bullies are not in control.

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