"Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company." Mark Twain

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Manner of Life Quotient

The previous post has gotten me thinking about how subjective the phrase Manner of Life is and how the move toward an Anglican Covenant is a way of providing some stability to the situation. I would suggest that there is another way to take subjectivity out of the decisions around who can be a Bishop. It is the development of a Manner of Life Quotient. This is how it would work. First everyone would agree on a number of criteria upon which a candidate for the episcopacy should be judged. Second each candidate would go through a thorough investigation process and be given a numerical score on each section. Then those scores would be calculated to give you a Manner of Life score. Each section would be weighted differently based on how much importance is placed on it in scripture and our tradition. So homosexuality would be weighted very lightly, while giving and generosity would be weighted very heavily. So someone could be gay and be very generous and score higher that a stingy straight person. This should clear it all up. I hope to have the criteria and scoring worked out by sometime next week. Any comments would be greatly appreciated.

Manner of Life

I have decided that when the Episcopal Church speaks of certain "manners of life" which may upset the rest of the communion they have opened the door for a good bit of conversation. In an effort to engage this conversation I am proposing a list of "manners of life" that do not live up to standards that are currently being set. Let me begin with the environment.

1.) 1998 Lambeth 1.8 Creation

As you can read below the 1998 Lambeth meeting passed a resolution that takes the destruction of the environment seriously. Therefor I propose that anyone currently in the House of Bishops of in an election for Bishop should have to meet certain standards of environmental sustainability to be considered appropriate candidates. Here is a list of Manners of Life that would be unacceptable: 1.) Driving an SUV or any car that does not get at least 40MPG on the Highway. 2.)Anyone who has not switched to compact fluorescent bulbs. (yes I know that it may be intrusive to come into peoples homes and see what bulbs they are using but the communion is at stake we all have to make sacrifices.) 3.) Any one who has not switched to low flow toilets and showers. 4.)Anyone shopping at Wal Mart. The most unsustainable company on the planet. this is a manner of life I find unacceptable and that destroys the homes and lives of our brothers and sisters in the global south. Any person who does these things has a manner of life that should not be acceptable to the wider communion.

2.)1998 Lambeth 1.4 War
It is pretty clear from Resolution I.4
A Faithful Response to Aggression and War
This Conference:
(a) abhors the evil of war;
(b) repudiates and condemns the use of violence for settling religious, economic, cultural or political disputes;
(c) encourages the use of peacekeeping forces to prevent or forestall the escalation of conflicts, and to assist in their resolution;
(d) repudiates and condemns the use of terrorism;
(e) decries the production and proliferation of arms;
(f) commits its members to prayer, mediation, and any active, non-violent means we can employ to end current conflicts and wars and to prevent others; and
(g) urges the nations represented by our Churches and all those on whom we have any influence whatsoever to join us in this endeavour.
1.)Any one who does not actively work and use any, active non-violent means to end war does not have a manner of life worthy of being a bishop. 2.) Anyone who may be invested in a company that profits from the "production and proliferation of arms" is unsuitable and causes untold harm to our brothers and sisters in the global south.
3.)1998 Lambeth 1.15 International Debt and Economic Justice
This resolution has so many ways in which to disqualify someones manner of life. I will just point out that Jesus talks about money more than any other topic in his parables and so maybe we should be talking about it too. 1.) Any person who cannot show a consistent pattern of tithing (at a minimum) does not have a manner of life consistent with the episcopacy. 2.) Anyone who has is not giving .7% of their income to the MDG's is also out. 3.)In fact I think a complete financial analysis of every candidate for Bishop is in order to make sure that they are spending their money in accordance with Biblical principals and Lambeth Resolutions. This report should be made public knowledge and there should be an opportunity for the laity to respond.
In fact I think when Jesus said in Matthew "where your treasure is there your heart will be also" he gave us the best possible way to figure out what a persons "manner of life" is. We should begin to require a complete financial report of each Bishop and candidate for Bishop. Let's not allow the Episcopacy to hide their manner of life behind their checkbooks.
Anyway this should just about exclude everyone from the possibility of being a bishop and those who make it through this process obviously have not have enough life experience to be effective shepherds to the flock so they are out too. Have a great day. Jeremy+

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Anglican Communion Bookies

Over the past year my friend Richard and I have sat down every two weeks or so to pour over the happenings in the Anglican communion. We read almost every important document that is released, we check out numerous web sites and blogs and for the most part are complete Anglican geeks. Both of us love the Episcopal Church very much and have been trying to figure out which way the wind might be blowing our beloved. Said another way, we wonder which way the Holy Spirit might be leading us as a church and communion. In an effort to work this out we have started handicapping the communion. Starting tomorrow we will provide weekly odds dealing with communion issues. For instance we will place odds on whether or not The Episcopal Church will sign the draft Anglican Covenant, which diocese are most likely and least likely to sign on, odds that a particular diocese or parish will attempt to leave the Episcopal Church, etc. You get the point. I have tried to find out what the London Bookmakers are thinking about all this but they haven't seen fit to place odds on the beloved CofE. Most everything else has odds as you can see here in the betting on which animal will become extinct. We are sure this will make some people unhappy. Honestly we really don't care. We will give people an opportunity to vote on certain odds and at other times we will make the call.

We will not be able to take actual bets but you are welcome to send us money if you like.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Moving to Africa

As many of you know my wife Penny and I are moving to Namibia Africa next summer to be missionaries from the Episcopal Church. You can find out more about our mission at www.missionnamibia.blogspot.com Namibia is part of the Southern Province of Africa. That province has had as its primates most recently Abp. Desmond Tutu and Abp. Njongonkul Ndugane. Recently the Southern Province of Africa elected a new primate. He is the 47 year old Bishop of Gramstown South Africa. He is Bishop Thabo Makgoba. When he was first elected there was quite a bit of trepidation about who he was and where he stood on issues facing the communion at this time. He is also a member of the Lambeth Steering Committee. The Living Church initially said that he was "more conservative" on issues of human sexuality. There was an article about Makgabo in the Mail and Guardian Online on October 6th that I thought was very interesting. It is worth a look if you are worried that the Episcopal Church has no friends in Africa.

Monday, October 15, 2007

1998 Labmbeth Resolutions taken less seriously

I'm just saying that it seems like some Lambeth resolutions from 1998 have been taken less seriously than others.

1998 Lambeth Resolution I.8
This Conference:
reaffirms the Biblical vision of Creation according to which:Creation is a web of inter-dependent relationships bound together in the Covenant which God, the Holy Trinity has established with the whole earth and every living being.

the divine Spirit is sacramentally present in Creation, which is therefore to be treated with reverence, respect, and gratitude;

human beings are both co-partners with the rest of Creation and living bridges between heaven and earth, with responsibility to make personal and corporate sacrifices for the common good of all Creation;

the redemptive purpose of God in Jesus Christ extends to the whole of Creation.

that unless human beings take responsibility for caring for the earth, the consequences will be catastrophic because of: overpopulation unsustainable levels of consumption by the rich poor quality and shortage of waterair pollutioneroded and impoverished soil forest destruction plant and animal extinction;

that the loss of natural habitats is a direct cause of genocide amongst millions of indigenous peoples and is causing the extinction of thousands of plant and animal species. Unbridled capitalism, selfishness and greed cannot continue to be allowed to pollute, exploit and destroy what remains of the earth's indigenous habitats;

that the future of human beings and all life on earth hangs in balance as a consequence of the present unjust economic structures, the injustice existing between the rich and the poor, the continuing exploitation of the natural environment and the threat of nuclear self-destruction;

that the servant-hood to God's creation is becoming the most important responsibility facing humankind and that we should work together with people of all faiths in the implementation of our responsibilities;

that we as Christians have a God given mandate to care for, look after and protect God's creation.

prays in the Spirit of Jesus Christ:
for widespread conversion and spiritual renewal in order that human beings will be restored to a relationship of harmony with the rest of Creation and that this relationship may be informed by the principles of justice and the integrity of every living being, so that self centred greed is overcome; and
for the recovery of the Sabbath principle, as part of the redemption of time and the restoration of the divinely intended rhythms of life.