Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Possibilities and Plans

I decided to remove the post I did on the Nominees for the 10th Bishop of Oregon, primarily because the search web site had the information up less than twenty-four hours after I did. No sense in duplicating efforts....

That editorial note is a perfect segue to the topic of this post--the fact that Summer is rapidly disappearing and so planning for the 2009-10 Program Year is either in full swing or is very close to it. Sunday morning worship, Sunday School, study groups, fellowship times, and the vast array of programs, volunteers, and calendar dates that need to be coordinated to have those events make this a very busy several weeks! Beyond that, however, I am thinking of our programs as means to an end--the end being mission and ministry within this church and community. So, though it daunting to see the amount of effort required, there is also a program year ripe with possibilities.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Cool and Collecting

Well, the heat wave in the Mid-Willamette Valley has broken, at least for now, and there is a cool breeze wafting through the screen door. Such cooling breezes allow me to concentrate on some of the post-Convention discussion that has continuously made its way around the Internet via blogs, articles, and other statements. The recent announcement that the Suffragan Bishop slate in the Diocese of Los Angeles includes a gay and a lesbian candidate and that the slate for Diocesan Bishop in Minnesota includes the name of a partnered lesbian candidate is the latest set of stories to ripple through the church. Though hardly disturbing (to me at least) in and of themselves, the rhetoric that has followed these announcemnets is unfortunately more of the same winners versus loosers, conservatives versus liberals conflict that has become commonplace in The Episcopal Church of late. Over and over again, I wonder how the church that has nurtured me as a Christian, as a priest, and in virtually every area of my life has chosen this issue on which it seems poised to tear itself apart.

I'm not the only one wondering this. An excellent blog entry by Tim Chesterton asks the question: "Why this particular line in the sand?" The article is well worth the read, but his conclusion is that this issue was chosen because it hits close to home for only a portion of TEC's population. In spite of the "threat to traditional marriage" trumpteted from the conservative angle, any blessing of same-sex unions or consecration of GLBT bishops would likely have only minimal effect on the parish level. Parish priests would certainly have the option of not performing such blessings (as the have the option of not performing weddings now) and the average person-in-the-pew sees their diocesan bishop rarely enough that it is not likely to be a daily realtiy for many people. Barring such blessings and consecrations, of course, does affect our GLBT brothers and sisters in Christ, but again if one is in a largely conservative congregation, there aren't any GLBT folks around anyway, as far as you know. In other words, opposition to same-sex unions and consecration of GLBT bishops costs we straight folks absolutely nothing, at least nothing that is not of our own choosing.

So as I continue to watch my denomination struggle with the issue, I also remind myself that my own ordination, much less my salvation, depends not on a numbered resolution, nor the orthodoxy of my diocesan bishop (slate for my diocese to follow soon!) or even what the Presiding Bishop does or does not say. Rather, it depends on my fidelity to my ordination and baptismal vows. Actually, it depends only on God's faithfulness, and I trust that won't be up for a vote anytime soon. Back to the parish again tomorrow, General Convention resolutions or no.