Support the Café
Search our site

PB clarifies comment on ‘thick’ interpretion of General Convention

PB clarifies comment on ‘thick’ interpretion of General Convention

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said earlier this week that Executive Council members “can’t always take General Convention decisions literally.” Asked about this at a press conference today, she offered some clarification. From Episcopal News Service:

When Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori told the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council on Oct. 15 that the members “can’t always take General Convention decisions literally,” her comment caused a bit of a stir at least in the social-media world.

What she said was “Executive Council has a responsibility to make ‘thick’ interpretation of General Convention decisions and directives. We can’t always take General Convention decisions literally – in the same way we read Scripture and don’t take it literally.”

Today, she said she does believe that council’s “responsibility is to take the work that’s been done at General Convention and apply it during the coming triennium.”

“A very narrow interpretation or construal of what particular resolutions might say may not fit the context two years down the road,” she said. “In the same way we read the Bible given our current context, understand the context in which it was written and looking at how those things have changed, we have to use our reason as well as the tradition and I think you can look the resolutions of convention as a tradition. I’m expecting members of council to gather the best resources around them to respond to the needs of the church and the world.”

Dislike (0)
0 0 vote
Article Rating
Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

2 Comments
Newest
Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
billydinpvd

One problem I see is that sometimes reading scripture literally is the correct approach. For example, when the Bible tells us that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosever believeth in him should not perish, or that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, I believe it. I dare say there are also times when GC resolutions mean what they say. It's not all open to interpretation - when GC says no one will be punished for their beliefs regarding SSBs, it meant just that, for example.

I was also taught that Biblical interpretation has to be done with the Church, not individually. Applying the same principle to GC resolutions, it seems a little risky to assume that EC represents the mind of the Church better than GC does.

Bill Dilworth

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
Derek Olsen

As a biblical scholar whose specialty is the history and practice of interpretation, I find this statement troubling on a number of levels... Are we now moving to a "reader-response" interpretation of the will of General Convention?

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
Facebooktwitterrss
Support the Café
Past Posts
2020_001

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café