Where I think General Convention went wrong…

Centrists / General Convention / Religion

Milton F. has pointed out in the comments of a previous post that I’ve been coming down pretty hard on the “right” this past week. I should own that – and I do. I’ve been ticked off about the way that some people seem to be reacting to General Convention’s actions, denying the fact that Convention sent a strong signal of our regret to the Anglican Communion.

So let me also point out that there were a number of things that were passed or not passed at General Convention that I wish hadn’t.

I do believe that Jesus is Lord of all creation and that salvation comes through him alone. If I thought that other religions were equally as valid as Christianity, then I’d see about choosing an easier one. The reasons given for the discharge of this particular resolution (that this idea was already expressed in the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral) were not terribly convincing. You might have argued that General Convention is not competent to rule on the Sovereignty of Christ or that this Sovereignty is attested to by our Book of Common Prayer, but what would it hurt for us to affirm this belief once again? Might be good to formally remind ourselves about why we do all this.

I do wish we had gotten a chance to talk about the primacy of Holy Scripture in the Church. Ultimately it is only in scripture that we can reliably find the voice of God speaking to us. To try to avoid that idea or to not let it come up for discussion seems to me to indicate a fear of something. It may have been that fear that led the resolution written by Kendall Harmon to have been so radically rewritten by the legislative committee before it was brought to the floor for action late on Wed. afternoon.

I did vote against consenting to the consecration of the newly elected bishop of Northern California. I heard the testimony and I have no doubt that he is a fine man who has truly repented of the past and intends to live in a christian marriage from now on. But I think that a bishop who is married for a third time is something that will be troubling and difficult for others to accept. Having passed B033, I would think that this consecration would fall under the same sort of rule.

I wish that we had not reordered our spending priorities as we did to make Justice and Peace the primary goals of the Church. We only just 3 years ago voted to make Evangelism and Reconciliation our primary goal. I suppose that this change in focus is what also led to the removal of the money for the Ad campaign and its reallocation to justice and mission programs. If we don’t start taking evangelism seriously, there will be no money to fund future peace and justice initiatives, and no one to carry them out even if there is money.

(edit) And oh yeah! I’m still annoyed that the we adopted the RCL to be our only lectionary and not an option starting in 2010. I really like the way all three lessons for a given Sunday in the BCP lectionary speak to the same theme. I don’t see that nearly as well in the RCL – and some Sundays I don’t see it at all.

The Author

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...


  1. Hey Nick,
    Thank you so much for your responses to my questions! Not to be repetitive in my questions or reasonings, but having to look closely at what one does through the course of one’s life, I have to ask you…you stated, “Having passed B033, I would think that this consecration would fall under the same sort of rule.” You were speaking of +Northern California’s affirmation to the epicopate where he is divorced twice and married three times.
    Looking at “manner of life,” not only do we look at life’s natural choices, but also, are we not forced to look at the considerations of the “manner of life” one’s choices lead to in the disentegration of alliances throughout ones life?
    I mean, if ++Schori allows herself to be lifted up into the highest position, theologically, that would represent a denial and negation of those that she sits with on the councils of the Anglican Communion, is that not an affront to the vote that was made for her from the realization you speak of in the quote that I name above?

  2. Sorry, Nick, but the last comma in my post needs to be a question mark. (sheepish grin inserted here)

  3. The communion as a whole has already considered the question of women’s ordination and grants that it is permissible. This is the logical outcome of that permission and those who aren’t happy with it need to recognize that this is part of engaging with the broader church. That’s one of the things that bothers me about Ft Worth’s request, it seems work as much for avoidance of actually dealing with the disagreement as it works for protecting a minority opinion.

  4. I’d add to Jon’s comment, that the Windsor report specifically states that woman bishop’s are acceptable to the Communion as a whole.

  5. I wasn’t taking aim at Women’s Ordination. I was speaking of her theology that many will find themselves unable to accept. I hope that clarifies…it was getting late when I wrote last night.

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