It’s that time of year again. I’ve got law school finals tomorrow, Thursday, and two next week (although one, thankfully, is a paper). I can definitely use your prayers, particularly for my Thursday Tax final, and I’ll be scaling back the amount of posting that I’ll do. Today, though, it seemed worth the time to mention that the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles just elected a lesbian as bishop.
This sort of behavior, particularly coming at such a critical time within global Anglicanism’s history, is the real source of divisiveness. Think about it: St. Paul tells us not to do things which scandalize your brother. For example, in 1 Corinthians 8:9, he writes, “Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak.” So even if homosexuality wasn’t intrinsically immoral, the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles would be intentionally setting out a stumbling block for other Anglicans just to advance their agenda to conform themselves to the spirit of this world. We can set aside the not-hard-to-answer moral question of “is homosexuality wrong,” and ask the even easier question of “are other Christians scandalized by this practice?” If yes, and no compelling reason to do it otherwise, a Christian shouldn’t do it. Bishop-elect Glasspool, like Gene Robinson before her, is flat-out being selfish.
A few highlights, so to speak, from the announcement I linked to above:
During her 28-year ordained ministry, Glasspool has served congregations in Maryland, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. While she was rector of St. Luke’s and St. Margaret’s Church in Boston (1992 to 2001), the small urban church’s budget more than doubled from $44,000, and parish membership tripled from 50 to about 150.
Let me get this straight: in 1992, there were 50 parishoners and a $44,000 budget, or an average of $880 per parishoner. By 2001, after she’d finished her work, there were 150 people but a budget of only $88,000, meaning that the average had slid to about $587 per parishoner… and this seemingly doesn’t factor in inflation. $88,000 in 2001 dollars is equivalent to $69,714.29 in 1992. Adjusted for inflation, the average parishoner gave $880 when Glasspool arrived, and the equivalent of $465 by the time she left. That’s her glowing achievement? That she seemingly mismanaged an urban church which, at its height, only drew 150 people?* And she’s going to become a bishop in Los Angeles? It’s like recruiting a pitcher for the Red Sox because you’ve heard he had an okay arm in high school… and then finding out he has a terrible ERA. Now, in fairness, perhaps the new parishoners had lower incomes than the old ones, but we’re not told this — the facts, standing alone, suggest that the parish became less giving under her tenure.
Another openly gay candidate, the Rev. John Kirkley, rector of St. John the
Evangelist Church in San Francisco, withdrew after the third ballot.
That’s right. Of the five candidates, two of them were openly homosexual. But Mary Douglas Glasspool, the final choice, had Kirkley beat: she’s a woman, she’s in a sexual relationship outside of marriage, and she’s homosexual. That’s right: three stumbling blocks for other Anglicans! Kirkley can only claim the last two.
“I look forward, in the coming months, to getting to know you all better, as
together we build up the Body of Christ for the world,” added Glasspool, who
received a standing ovation by convention.
She has, at least, a sense of humor? Or does she honestly think that lesbian bishops will be something that those outside of the US are about to rush and embrace? Or that this somehow models Christian behavior? Even if her non-marital sex partner were male, she’d be unsuited for the office. Of course, even if she were celibate, she’d be an unacceptable candidate for the office. If nothing else, this ought to put an end to the question of whether Anglican Holy Orders are valid.
Reaction to Glasspool’s election was swift. The Rev. Canon Kendall Harmon, canon theologian from the Diocese of South Carolina, said the election “represents an intransigent embrace of a pattern of life Christians throughout history and the world have rejected as against biblical teaching.”It will add further to the Episcopal Church’s incoherent witness and chaotic common life, and it will continue to do damage to the Anglican Communion and her relationship with our ecumenical partners.”
Amen! Brilliantly stated, and Harmon is completely correct on ecumenism. What Church is going to reconcile with a religious assembly so vaguely Christian? What is there left to even reconcile with? And finally:
Under the canons of the Episcopal Church (III.11.4(a)) that apply after all episcopal elections, a majority of bishops exercising jurisdiction and diocesan Standing Committees must consent to Glasspool’s ordination within 120 days from the day after notice of her election is sent to them.
[L.A. diocesan Bishop Jon] Bruno, responding to a question about whether Glasspool would received the required number of consents for her episcopacy to go forward, said: “If by chance people are going to withhold consents because of Mary’s sexuality, it would be a violation of the canons of this church.
This is exactly what I meant when I suggested that Anglicanism is rotting from the top down. While there are voices of sanity and Christianity remaining within that church’s bounds, they’re fighting against those in control of Anglican canon law and its enforcement. And here, those voices are issuing a not-really-veiled-at-all threat against anyone who votes against Glasspool because of her sexual orientation – even, presumably, it was because ordaining a practicing homosexual causes scandal, rather than its intrinsic immorality. Here, the “right” of a handful of homosexual clerics to engage in sodomy is being favored over the right of other parishoners not to have a stumbling block put on their path to Christ. Anyone who intentionally creates what St. Paul calls a “stumbling block to the weak” shouldn’t be able to call themselves “inclusive” or “welcoming.” But that’s precisely what’s going on. And a group of heretical Anglicans in positions of power are making sure that canon law creates and enforces their stumbling block of choice. Truly a pity.
And they wonder why traditional Anglicans are excited about the Apostolic Constitution?