Most recent update: 2:10 p. m.
The mixed messages continue. Jim Naughton writes that "A colleague in another diocese who subscribes to a press clippings service said he received 20 stories today. Five said we defied the Communion, five said we turned our back on gays and lesbians and 10 said we compromised positively." It's small wonder that some laity have expressed bewilderment.
And bishops continue to respond to the distortion, which is occurring on both sides. (See last night's post for some left-leaning responses; these are more conservative.) Bp. Edward Salmon of South Carolina writes:
In the interest of clarity, I would like to report to the clergy and people of the Diocese of South Carolina on the meeting of the House of Bishops in New Orleans. I am particularly concerned that you hear directly from me as the distortion in the media and on blogs is profound.
From my perspective this was probably the best meeting I have attended and at the same time the most painful.
He continues with a description of the tension and some particularly painful points for him. But most notably, he stresses that he did not support the HoB response document and gives the following reasons:
1. It did not respond as requested to the three points raised by the Anglican Primates in Dar es Salaam. 2. It did not provide alternative oversight that met the needs of those who asked for it. 3. It placed the condition that our responses must be in keeping with our Constitution and Canons. The chaos we are in requires tremendous grace, not law. 4. There is oppression of those not in agreement, often unaware to those responsible. 5. Statements by our leadership saying that 95% of the Church was doing well or that only a small percentage were affected makes discussion impossible. The Episcopal Church Foundation says we are in a systemic decline which is significant.
The entire letter is the main article on the diocesan home page. You may have to flip through the site archives to find it if you are reading this post at a future date.
Bishop James Stanton of Dallas agrees that the meeting was a success but that the document itself is, to him, disappointing.
From my perspective, the HOB meeting was extraordianry in the way in which it carried out its deliberations. It was frank, open, serious and cooperative. I found the deliberations around the "response" surprising and at times even encouraging. The response itself, however, is another matter.
His entire letter, which addresses his concerns about the response, is here (link goes directly to PDF), available also from the diocesan home page.
Other developments in the press, meanwhile:
"Both sides unhappy," says ABC News in this story from its international newsdesk, and quoting sources from England and Africa. "Supporters of gay clergy accused American Episcopal bishops of caving in to pressure from conservatives, while traditionalists criticized what they said was a cleverly worded declaration of defiance."
The Wall Street Journal positions two letters to the editor as point/counterpoint here. These were occasioned by an earlier article on Episcopal congregations seeking to ally themselves with African provinces.
The BBC's piece features a visit to St. Thomas's, Dupont Circle, an inclusive parish in Washington, D. C., and closes with a threat from the Rev. John Guernsey, who vastly overestimates his importance.
The Christian Science Monitor remains one of the most objective news sources out there. Their write-up is here.
Meanwhile, Father Jake is noting the previously unarticulated standard by which the House of Bishops' response is being judged in parts of the Communion.
Bishop Michael Curry of North Carolina has responded: "This is a significant accomplishment, a positive step, and a hopeful sign."
And the Anglican Scotist argues that much of the response to the statement has been sophomoric and self-indulgent:
Why can't compromise and discernment be messy? Why can't an honest compromise leave everyone disappointed? Maybe this is what a virtuous church looks like when its members are in passionate discord and sedition is in the air. The presumption that the Church should have repented, as if a Church even can do such a thing except in an unhelpfully hazy, metaphorical sense--and the presumption that the Church should have gone further than GC2006 and GC2003 or else betray its fidelity to God seem to misread what might well be going on in the HoB and AC. Moderates are genuinely trying to discern without railroading those who wish to remain at the table. There's nothing unfaithful in the sacrifices that come with the process fo compromise.
Still more stuff in this grab bag: the Bishop of Alabama and the Canon to the Ordinary (non-Episcopalians should call their local diocese to have this title explained as life is too short to do it here) of Louisiana, via fatherjones.com
The Rev. Barry Signorelli delivers this spirited rant. (His word, not ours.):
Okay, yes, I know that the HoB's statement is not as bad as it might have been, that it simply maintains the status quo and doesn't "go back" -- but what it doesn't "go back to" is the aftermath of GC2003 and the shame of B-033. What the bishops have produced will please no one, will prevent no break-up, keeps GLBT Episcopalians in the back of the bus, and stifles any voice of prophecy or movement of the Spirit. "The lukewarm I will spit from my mouth."