21 February 2006

He spoke with such authority

The diocese of California announced its slate of nominees for their next bishop yesterday. Two of the five are gay. Of course, everyone has an opinion. Titusonenine declares that the Anglican Communion has not yet been persuaded that this is an OK move for the Diocese of California to make. Furthermore, scripture doesn't permit this sort of thing.

Integrity released their own report, praising the slate for its diversity and reminding readers not to be threatened by those who warn against disobeying the Windsor Report, because it is a set of recommendations without biding authority. In the end, God is our authority, they say.

Matthew 22: 15 Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. 16 They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. "Teacher," they said, "we know you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren't swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are. 17 Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?"18 But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, "You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax." They brought him a denarius, 20and he asked them, "Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?"21 "Caesar's," they replied. Then he said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's."22 When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.

Mark 1:21 They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22 The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.

What's backing you up when you speak? When you make your claims, especially your controversial ones, who are you counting on for teammates? Are they always the same, or do different controversies call for different authorities? In the end, how close do you feel to the authorities you invoke? How close do you think they feel to you?

In being a recently married person, authority comes up for me a lot. Why was I convinced that Christmas is for family, and that every Christmas must be full of traditions? On what authority do I know when is a good time to answer the phone and when is not? Heck, why do I insist that we flour sack towels are for dishes only and terry cloth towels for clean hands only? Things that were once normal or now up for debate. i like it and hate it, but I've learned to ask myself how I know something. And I've learned to be aware of how sensitive I am when certain authorities are called into questions, and where that sensitivity comes from.

The vows I plan to take as a priest are seconday to the vows I take to God. If I think the Church contradicts God, I've had enough Christian history to know that God is not the Church, and I will then be there with God, my conscience, and my trust in God and God's will is completely exposed. How is this different than the vow I take to my own conscience? God isn't my conscience either; I've lived long enough to know that. God, a conscience, and a Church do not a Trinity make.

In the end, the most persuasive arguments steer the Church's course. Who speaks with more authority? If the Holy Spirit isn't majority rule, what does General Convention tell us? Even more broadly, who speaks with most authority in my own life, and how do I live it out?


Blogger mikey said...

oooooo....many things to ponder, i see. (said in the voice of Yoda)

12:38 PM  
Blogger Ann said...

Wow - we have the same rule - flour sack or flat surface towels for dishes and terry for hands!! I wonder if we are related? It is sort of like clean and unclean - I am shocked if someone does not know the difference.

6:45 AM  
Blogger Marshall said...

I appreciate that you understand your ecclesiology. So many think we do this majority thing in the Episcopal Church because it's the American way. Now, if we could only get some efforts at inclusiveness from those with a "trickle-down" pneumatology.

2:49 PM  
Blogger Cminor said...

Very interesting things...I am now an official member of the blogging community. check it out!

9:41 AM  

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