Sausage and Legislation

(Note: I’ll be adding links to various comments when I can over the next few days. Right now I’m on the road and must post on the fly, so to speak.)

(Warning. Serious ranting to commence. Parental guidance advised.)

What follows is not meant in the least to diminish the efforts of faithful Christians, all the +Jack Ikers, Brad Drells, Kendall Harmons+, and Christopher Cantrells+ who did their utmost to bear witness to the truth at Columbus—and there were many of you, I know. Your names will be written in the Book of Life. But . . .

The philosopher Leibnitz famously postulated that we live in the “best of all possible worlds.” This is actually a fairly serious philosophical argument; however, it prompted Voltaire to comment that, “if this is the best of all possible worlds, God is a sadistic pig.”

It is on days like this that I begin to wonder if Voltaire was right.

General Convention 2006 is over. Could they have screwed this up any worse?

Of course, I had tried to think of worst case scenarios for the Convention. But these folks managed to exceed my wildest imagination.

One obvious objection to my complaint is that I am taking this too seriously. Sure, I may be faced with difficult choices, difficult in every way: emotionally, personally, intellectually, spiritually. But hey, someone could say, this wasn’t Hurricane Katrina. Nobody died or lost their home. Get real and get over it.

But such an objection would be fair if we were only dealing with a catastrophe on a physical, material level. We are supposed to be people who believe in an eternal destiny for each of us. Call it “pie in the sky when you die” if you like, but there is supposed to be a supernatural dimension to all the politicking that went on in Columbus—witness how many times the Holy Spirit was invoked to justify this or that bit of blasphemy or apostasy.

Houses, cities, and even lives can be rebuilt. Hell is forever—and purgatory, if you believe in it, doesn’t sound like much fun either.

I will write something on the possible consequences of what transpired in Columbus, Ohio sometime soon. For now, I think it is imperative that we wake up to just how bad the disaster of GC06 was. The sheer scale of the of the stupidity, particularly of the House of Bishops, gives new meaning to the word “pathetic.” These guys couldn’t field a team in a Special Olympics for the Spiritually Handicapped.

To appreciate just how awful this all is, I don’t even need to quote some of the bizarre statements already coming from mouth of the new Presiding “Bishop.” No need to detail the lunatic goings on of Bishop Chane and Company in the aftermath. Instead, let us consider the various possible outcomes for this Convention, the might-have-beens, from best to worst, and see just how low we have to go to get to reality.

1 – The best outcome was, of course, the very least likely, barring a miracle on the order of the parting of the Red Sea or the raising of Lazarus. Someone truly (and I mean truly) orthodox—Jack Iker, say, or Keith Ackerman—is nominated from the floor and elected Presiding Bishop. The delegates and the bishops realize that the Episcopal Church is in a state of schism already as well as apostasy and set about to set it right through resolutions and a collective covering of themselves with the legislative equivalent of dust and ashes. No, not likely, and in the case of the Presiding Bishop perhaps constitutionally impossible, but hey, we can hope, can’t we?

2 – The next best thing—or perhaps I should say, the least bad outcome we could reasonably have expected—would have been to elect the least awful of candidates up for PB—Parsley, I suppose—and then go on to pass resolutions that would have been truly compliant with the requests of the Windsor Report. Not that I have ever thought that much of the Windsor Report, a fatally flawed document. Nor am I at all clear as to what constitutes the mysterious “Windsor process” everyone keeps talking about. This would have kept things together for now, and then it would be on to fight another day.

3 – Next would have been electing, say, Alexander of Atlanta and not passing any “Windsor compliant” resolutions at all. Certainly this would have achieved the “clarity” that so many wanted, on both sides. At least the mushy middle would have been forced to see that all their efforts at obfuscation had failed. In fact, there are probably not a few who would have preferred #3 to #2, and I can understand why.

4 – They could have elected a radical feminist process theology same-sex-union promoting pseudo-bishop as Presiding Bishop—oh wait, they did that, didn’t they?—and then again pass no “Windsor compliant” resolutions at all. We almost had that. Again, there are probably those who would have preferred that on all sides.

5 – Bu nooooOOOoooo. First they had to pick the absolutely worst candidate on the list as Presiding “Bishop.” Reports are that this was due to some real episcopal arm-twisting by a certain west coast bishop (obviously moved by the Spirit, of course). Then, in an act of cowardice that will go down in infamy, the bishops, suddenly faced with the real possibility that they might not be able to sip tea and nibble crumpets at Lambeth in 2008 while they stroked their egos with the illusion that they are somehow of international significance, showed the courage of their convictions by cooking up the weakest, most pathetic “resolution” (perhaps the silliest term possible to describe the text that was passed) they could, then used every means short of threatening to knee-cap the Deputies to get it passed—a resolution that will fool no one (except possibly ++Robin Eames), a resolution that was immediately disowned by Network bishops on the right and the Chane-led lunatics on the left (who, it should be noted, outnumbered the Network objectors by about three to one). For once, I actually agreed with Louie Crew, who declared that this resolution would “cut the tongue out of the Holy Spirit.” Louie may be clueless as to what the Spirit has said or will say, but he was spot on that there was not the least whiff of smoke from the tongues of fire in this pathetic “resolution.”

So there you have it. Bismarck once commented that the two things you never want to watch being made are sausage and legislation. Truer words were never said. I feel sick. Mark Shields once remarked concerning a certain Senate candidate that “calling him an empty suit is an insult—to the men’s apparel industry of America.” Well, calling some of these bishops empty chasubles would be an insult—to Almy.

Yet despite that, I am glad for all the internet coverage of this Convention. CaNN, Stand Firm, BabyBlue, Whitehall and David Virtue, for all my disagreements with some of them in the past, did an outstanding job of displaying the carnage as well as the courage of a few who tried desperately to be a voice of reason and godliness in an orgy of apostasy, to say a word of sanity in a Convention hall lost in a bad acid trip. My hat is off to you all, particularly now as many of you are probably suffering from dark thoughts. Comforting words would sound hollow, but you have my prayers.

As for the consequences of this pathetic show, the ecclesiastical equivalent of the Texas Chain Saw Massacre, I’ll post on them later. Right now, well, I’m tempted to say I need a drink, but really I need to be on my knees. Or maybe both. I’m sure “the Spirit” will guide me. He/she is spreading his/her favors pretty liberally these days.

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