Tuesday, February 28, 2006

A Colossal Negation of Our Stewardship

Dr. Paul Zahl has written an interesting commentary on the work of the Diocese of California's episcopal search committee, which he describes as "unscrupulous:"

Why is their decision to present two gay candidates unscrupulous? Well, first, it wipes its feet on millions of dollars, literally, of airfares! Since August 2003, millions and millions of dollars have been spent on airfares to dozens and dozens – probably hundreds – of alarmed meetings all over the world. Was it all a complete waste of money? Did all those thousands of security searches, from Texas to New York to Heathrow to Belfast to Lagos to Bermuda, take place for nought? What does this decision say about "counting the cost” to the rest of the world – and specifically the "orthodox" church world? It is a colossal negation of our stewardship. What it says is, We don't care about the effect this decision has on you. Our desire, or need, to push a way forward takes no regard to the conscience, not to mention the pocketbook, of others whom the step has alarmed. No Pauline "weaker brethren" here!

It seems to me that the "colossal negation of our stewardship" involved here is the waste of millions of dollars on reifying heterosexist structures in the church that could have been spent on mission and ministry. In light of Nigeria's recent
criminalization of gay and lesbian people and those who advocate for them, enacted with the full weight of the Anglican Province of Nigeria's support, it seems that money might have been better spent listening to the needs of the "weaker brethren" who are being persecuted because of their sexual orientation. No more junkets for Primates who despise the outcast in their midst!

Our episcopal search committee prayerfully, patiently, and passionately sought to discern whom God is calling to be our next bishop. They refused to capitulate to the kind of scapegoating and fear-mongering that suggests preserving Anglican unity requires sacrificing the human dignity of gay and lesbian people. Such behavior should be interpreted as faithfulness rather than selfishness.

The people of the diocese of California will continue to pray for discernment. We cannot possibly know at this stage whom God is calling us to elect as our next bishop, and must remain open to the movement of the Holy Spirit. We need not be anxious about it, however, regardless of how many "alarmed meetings" others may hold around the globe.

1 comment:

kevin jones said...

there's either room at the table for all or their ain't. that's what i think.