Saturday, June 6, 2009

"For a Season"

I'm confused.

We're in the "green" season for after Pentecost. Advent is typically purple or a type of blue. Christmas to Ephinany is white. So what color do we use for the season where we continuously study and question the lives LGBT people of faith? Yellow, perhaps?

There are minds far more savvy and knowledgeable than mine in Episcopolitics who have commented on the House of Bishop's Theology Committee, and its chairman's decision to organize a super-secret subcommittee that will examine theology and the same-sex relationship with a report due AFTER the General Convention this July. You can imagine this idea of a subcommittee of UNnamed participants examining the lives of us "others" has generated some criticism. You can read the response to the critics from chairman Bishop Henry Parsley,Jr. of Alabama here.

Rev. Susan Russell, Fr. Mark Harris, and many other bloggers have already jumped on this here and here and here. And there is even a running gag on the Episcopal Cafe speculating on the secret subcommittee membership. I have to say, I sure hope Katie Perry is NOT +Parsley's idea of a representative of the lesbian population in the church!

Jokes aside, I am deeply-troubled by the existence of this subcommittee, and the reasons for keeping the names of the membership secret. This group is functioning as part of the House of Bishops which exists within the structure of the General Convention... the governing body of the Episcopal Church USA. As a person in an Episcopal pew, who also happens to be a lesbian and a lay Eucharistic minister and a participant in Education for Ministry, I do not think it is unreasonable for me to have an interest in what is happening within the church and at General Convention this summer, especially as it relates to LGBT issues. So a committee in the closet, as this subcommittee apparently is, makes me more than a little concerned. Especially when their work is to result in something to be released in 2011... two years AFTER this General Convention when there are several resolutions pending THIS year to move the church forward on same-sex marriage issues and other matters affecting the LGBT population of the church.

What really catches my attention is the phrase "for a season". It seems this is the favored euphemism in the Episcopal Church for "we need more time to study this up, down, backward, forward, sideways, so we can avoid actually DOING anything."

Currently, we are in the season of Pentecost in the Church. The Holy Spirit has blown into the room and lit the fire in the souls of all those who are listening and paying attention and now is acting as the bellows to keep that fire going, so that the light that shines forth from each of us is that of the Christ that dwells within our hearts. Such a fire should melt away fear, and should fuel us to live out the commandment to love God and our neighbors as ourselves. To me, this is the only season the Church and its officers should be thinking about theologically. Why then this call "for a season" to further study those things that have already been studied to death? Why do I get the feeling that this season never changes? We've had to live in the winter of our discontent because of rules adopted at the last General Convention... another "season" of "gracious restraint" and just say no to "out" gay bishops and same-sex blessings. I am very tired of this winter, and I want to look forward to a glorious summer courtesy of real action in Anaheim.
And for that season, I am waiting. And I believe that is a white season... a time when we can celebrate the church's move toward realizing God's love for all of God's people.


Grandmère Mimi said...

For many of us, the phrase "for a season" is ruined forever.

Anonymous said...

I am hoping that the church will somehow not allow that secret society to exist. I want an open season.


SCG said...

Grandmere, it certainly has made me wary of the phrase.

Peggins, I hope it's an open season, too. Just not an open season ON gay, lesbian, bi, and trans people!