Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Doing it on the Downlow

The rumour is that the bishop of San Diego has authorized same sex blessings, but wants them to be done quietly and discretely.

I do not know if that is true. If it is, I would not be surprised and if it isn't I would be. Which is the point of this post. Too much of our church's policy and discipline has been handled in quiet. Too much of our theology has been two-faced. When Bishop J Jon Bruno boldly proclaims that same sex marriage does not happen in his diocese and at the same time pictures are posted from such a coupling, then things have clearly gone too far.

The goal of most bishops in the Episcopal Church is apparently to maintain plausible deniability as to what is going on while at the same time allowing priests to regularly violate the canons (try googling 'open communion' and 'episcopal church'). I'm all for scandal avoidance. The Episcopal treasurer embezzlement scandal was mortifying. The point is that while hypocrisy is comfortable in the short term, in the long term it bites you on the arse.

Once a bishop, or anyone, acquires a reputation for double dealing, trimming, sophistry or pharisaism then his authority as a bishop is shot. Bishops have no tools to compel obedience other than those available to any employer. Whether they want to acknowledge it or not, part of the underlying problem with the Episcopal Church has been the almost universal loss of credibility by our hierarchy. And that is not a new thing, it has been coming on ever since the Bishops took the safe choice in dealing with Bishop Pike.

The big question is whether they as a group possess the will to regain credibility. I truly wish I could believe that they do.

Disclaimer: I graduated from the same college (University of the South) as Bishop and Mrs Mathes. I knew them both well. We were in the same graduating class (1982). I am from the same town as Mrs. Mathes.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

They have less power than an employer. An employer can threaten to fire you to compel obedience