Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the 51 year old Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church of Detroit. Piety Hill refers to the old name for our neighborhood. The neighborhood has changed a great deal in the over 150 years we have been on this corner (but not our traditional biblical theology) and it is now known for the neighboring theatres, the professional baseball and football stadiums and new hockey/basketball arena.

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Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The House of Bishops Meeting last week

We moved to our new house last week, which means that although I went into the office to say Mass, and make a few emergency calls, I was for the most part living among the boxes and lifting and carrying things all week.

One nice reprieve was that I missed all the hub-bub of the report of the House of Bishops who were meeting in New Orleans to respond to the Primates Communique from their meeting in Tanzania last spring.

Sitting back a few days before diving into the material allowed me to see an overall picture and not just the knee-jerk reactions that I and others frequently have to such things. I have spent the last couple of days reading all sort so material about the report and have come to these prelimanary conclusions.

1) The Bishops worked really hard to try to answer the primates without actually changing, or pledging to change anything that is happening in the Episcopal Church on the diocesan level (ie...same-sex unions permitted by bishops, etc.).

2) The re-appraisers (those who would change, have changed, and are changing the teachings of the Church) think what they are doing is prophetic and if they keep trying to 'dialogue' they think they can beat down or drive out any resistance to their changes. It has worked pretty well in ECUSA, why not Africa?

3) If they repeat often enough that they have satisfactorily answered the primates requests then most people will believe it is true without actually reading the source documents. (see below for an example of this)
This technique is the same used by re-appraisers who repeat continually that the bible isn't against the changes they propose, which is easily believed by those who don't know the bible.

4) The re-asserters (those reasserting the traditional faith) will continue to be marginalized in many dioceses.

5) There is no way any time soon those in power (the re-appraisers in most dioceses) will let a parish leave with the property which they claim is held by the Diocese/ECUSA in "historic trust", without the historic faith for which the parishioners of ages past sacrificed to promote and preserve.

6) There is no way any time soon the re-appraisers will let go of any power whatsoever in giving some sort of pastoral oversight to another diocesan bishop or foriegn primate.

7) After hearing for 13 years as a priest that schism is worse than heresy, our heresy will cause some sort of schism from our international communion and the re-appraisers will blame it on others, using good old American arrogance that believes only we have it right.

So PRAY, PRAY, PRAY - it is going to be a bumpy few months and years!
As for the example for number #3, this was from Titusonenine blog (www.kendallharmon.net/t19)

Dueling Letters to the Editor in the Birmingham, Alabama, News

Friday, September 28, 2007
Bishops didn’t reject Anglicans’ request
I am writing to call attention to the inaccuracy and distortion of the article “Episcopal bishops reject Anglican demands” (The News, Wednesday) from the New York Times News Service about the meeting of the Episcopal House of Bishops. The bishops did not reject the requests of our Anglican partners. We responded with great care, and the truth is, our response takes significant positive steps for the sake of our interdependence and unity in the Anglican Communion.
The article only quoted people who have a divisive agenda and whose assessment of the House of Bishops meeting is intentionally misleading. No one from The News attempted to call me or my office to ask for our view of the bishops’ work before publishing this front-page article. Not a single bishop present at the meeting is quoted. This is disappointing and biased journalism. It is harmful to the church and to the commonwealth.
The meeting of the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church included a spirit of compromise and sacrifice for the good of the Anglican Communion, as well as an affirmation of our church’s commitment under God to love and respect the dignity of every human being. I hope our Anglican friends, and maybe even The News, will recognize this in the months to come.
Henry N. Parsley
Episcopal Bishop of Alabama
October 2, 2007
Bishop's letter itself inaccurate: Bishop Henry N. Parsley's letter ("Bishops didn't reject Anglicans' request," The News, Sept. 28) alleging inaccuracy in The New York Times story is itself inaccurate.
The Anglican primates addressed three major concerns to the leadership of the Episcopal Church. On the first, the bishops said yes, sort of, but on their terms. In doing so, they continued to use expansive language (referring to bishops "whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church"), which was not the language they were asked to use ("any candidate to the episcopate who is living in a same-gender union").
The Episcopal bishops in New Orleans then said no to requests two and three, and they also did and said nothing about the lawsuits they were asked to stop. Going even further, however, they then insisted on two things they said were necessary of the rest of the Anglican Communion, which they have so badly damaged.
This was a last-ditch effort to seek to enable healing in a very deep wound. Tragically, the bishops have done nowhere near enough given what was asked and what the stakes were.
The Episcopal lobbying group Integrity, which is seeking to overturn the Episcopal Church's teaching and practice in the area of legitimizing same-sex practice, titled its response to the New Orleans meeting: "Integrity applauds bishops' strong stand against primates."
Is it not possible it and The New York Times see truth Parsley does not?
The Rev. Canon Dr. Kendall Harmon
Canon theologian
Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina
Summerville, S.C.
These are the letters as they appeared. My submitted letter had one additional sentence in end of the first paragraph: "The expansive language the bishops chose to maintain was used by some Episcopal leaders recently to vote against South Carolina’s choice for Bishop, Mark Lawrence, a person who upholds the very theological position the Primates were trying to protect."