Tuesday, July 29, 2008

JCF writes a letter.....

(JCF asks us to publish this email "sent last night to my bishop (+Robert Gepert, of the Diocese of West Michigan), and the reply I
got (not from him---unsurprisingly---but from his assistant.")
The letter:

Subject: Crunch time at Lambeth: please don't sell us out!

Dear Bishop Gepert,
My name is JC Fisher, and I'm a member of St. James, Albion. I met you 3 years ago, when I was in the Fall discernment program.

I am also a queer---and life-long---member of the Episcopal Church.

While some of what I've been hearing from Lambeth has been encouraging (the indaba groups, the worship, the sermons by the ABC and particularly, the opening sermon by Bishop De Cheekera of Sri Lanka), I'm concerned that---as at Lambeth '98---the devil will show up at The End.

Most particularly, I'm very concerned about the proposals of the "Windsor Continuation Group." For those of us who didn't think the Windsor Report was so great to begin with, the so-called "Windsor Process" has been all DOWNHILL. Repeatedly, observations and reports and proposals have been (attempted) to be reified into LAW. This is NOT the Anglican Communion into which---by virtue of my early baptism in TEC---I was born!

Laypeople like myself---both LGBT, and allied, plus the merely open-minded---do NOT want any part of a foreign "curia" making decisions IN PLACE OF our General Convention! Any "delaying" tactic on your (bishops') part, I fear, will merely give yet ANOTHER opening for those seeking power, to turn a proposal into a law.

SAY "NO" TO A CURIA (or "Pastoral Forum", or WHATEVER they want to call these Anglican ***cops***) NOW.

Right now. Nip it in the bud, before it spreads out to strangle our beloved (Lambeth pre-dating) Episcopal Church!

This isn't about LGBT people (whatever the shame of excluding +Gene Robinson). It's about Our Church: its charisms, its God-given democracy. Please, please, Bishop Gepert: for the love of Christ, don't let it perish.

Yours in Christ,
JC Fisher

******************************************************
The response:

Dear JC,

Thank you for your email letter to Bishop Gepert. It has been forwarded to him at the Lambeth Conference.

As you know, Bishop Gepert is very supportive of LGBT people and will work toward their full inclusion in the church.

Blessings,
M--- W----
Administrative Assistant to the Bishop

******************************************************
The reaction
JCF says, After a very sleepless night, I feel better. :-)

38 comments:

Scott Hankins said...

God continue to bless you, jcf, and may the Holy One grant you sweet slumber tonight, the sleep of the just.

James said...

A good letter, JCF and I'm glad you received a positive reply from the bishop's office.

JCF said...

Thanks, y'all. I'm afraid I'll always have more PASSION than ELOQUENCE, but in my rough way, I said what I thought I needed to (and I really didn't expect to get anything back but an "Out of Office Auto Reply"!)

Scott Hankins said...

jcf,

so much for expectations, eh?

:-)

blessings....

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

Good letter from JCF, a more than vacuous answer from somebody...

Well... I suppose it could be worse ;=)

Anonymous said...

Good letter, fellow-Michigander!

The response is from +Gepert's assistant, Goran, who is fairly new -- but obviously knows his stance.

As do I. Personally. Our bishop has been astonishingly supportive and encouraging. Moreover, he has tried to "make space" for those who disagree (some, unfortunately, don't see it that way, and have left...).

I look forward to his personal observations when he returns.

Padre Wayne

Jim said...

Hi Goran,

I have to disagree. I think the response given that the person sending it is not the bishop and did act was appropriate. One can only hope that the bishop and all his American friends at Lambeth get the message.

FWIW
jimB

David said...

::gives JCF a big thumbs up::

Well done! :)

Kurt said...

Right on, JCF!!! You tell 'em, dude!!!

textjunkie said...

Nicely put, JCF. I hope your voice is heard!!

Anonymous said...

Only one question remains JC: Would you be willing to write Gepert (who's also my bishop) asking him to allow the formation of a seperate Anglican province in the U.S.? And before you reply, please don't accuse me of hating gay people--that's not the issue. The issue is one of discipleship, and what we are called to as followers of Christ. Dave

IT said...

No, Dave, really, that IS the issue. JCF is perfectly willing to worship with you, even though you disapprove of who JCF is. But apparently you are not willing to worship with JCF.

JCF is not asking you to leave. But you are asking JCF to leave.

I bet that JCF's theology is about as high Anglican as you can imagine, so you can't use theological fuzziness as an excuse. You simply don't want the JCFs of the world in the pew next to you. Other sinners okay, divorcés and usurers. Hey, I bet you would LOVE To sit next to the bank president. And I'm SURE there are plenty of divorced folks you spend time with, though they are technically adulterers. But GLBT are a big "ew".

because JCF's sexual identity is apparently now a core doctrinal issue, whereas divorce, money lending, and general meanness are apparently not.

Yeah, I'm not one of you. But that's how it looks out here.

Leonardo Ricardo said...

JCF...another home-run of a reply...and Dave, go do what you need to do elsewhere and satify your "clensing campaign" longing at Church...we'll leave the "door open and the light on" after you start taking responsibility for the on-the-ground "outcomes" of your "beliving" you may wish to come back home where you will be welcomed next to US at the Communion rail...we shant hold you back from leaving but don't attempt to take our patrimony with you as there would be no pew to sit in when you get back from your purification/abomination process and self-purging of fear/hate.

Anonymous said...

Well IT, you didn't really answer my question, so I'm not really inclined to take this discussion much further, other than to say that I would love to have my church take a much firmer stand on divorce and urusry, since you bring those topics up. Those are also issues that need to be under the headship of Christ. (And BTW, there are many so-called conservative Christians who would argue that divorce is allowable in certain circumstances.) Dave

IT said...

But you didn't threaten schism over divorce or usury, Dave. You didn't raise that to the level of core doctrine. Only committed gay relationships, which are not mentioned in the Bible at all.

Hmmmm...

(OF course some conservative Christians allow divorce occasionally. Generally when they think it's convenient to them, I suspect. I don't have a problem with divorce, myself, and I'm not Christian. I am simply amused at the reality-denying hypocrisy of the whole thing.)

Meanwhile, folks, did you catch what Mrs Rowan said?

From The Guardian:

Canterbury ....does have an acronym for the 550 spouses of the Anglican bishops who have arrived in the city for the Lambeth conference. Rather than Wags, there are Wahs - wives and husbands of those attending.

.....

Jane Williams, wife of the Archbishop of Canterbury - top Wah - explains that she prefers the moniker to the alternative of Waps (wives and partners), because "partner" cannot identify someone as heterosexual and married.

David said...

And BTW, there are many so-called conservative Christians who would argue that divorce is allowable in certain circumstances.

Of course. Because divorce is so nice & convenient for heterosexuals - why would they ban it ? [/sarcasm]

Mind you, I actually have no overall, personal objections to divorce, and don't see it, in religious terms, as a sin per se (it can be sinful or not, depending on how the participants behave).

But I am saying that I find Dave's viewpoint contrasting it to the gay marriage issue to be hideously hypocritical and self-serving.

JCF said...

Only one question remains JC: Would you be willing to write Gepert (who's also my bishop) asking him to allow the formation of a seperate Anglican province in the U.S.?

What the heck are you asking me, Dave?

You say +Robert Gepert is your bishop, and you're asking me to write him, to ask if he can NOT be your bishop anymore? You don't need his, my, or anyone else's permission for that: there's the door!

Seriously, Dave, in WHAT sense is he "your bishop", if you believe he's so tainted, that you can't stand being in the same province as he is? That you can't even acknowledge *his* "discipleship...as followers of Christ"?

Your question makes NO sense to me: I'm afraid you're just going to have to write him yourself.

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

JimB wrote: "I have to disagree."

Sorry, what is there to disagree about? The answer is empty for known and understandable reasons.

Padre Wayne may be right that the bishop's own answer could well be worth waiting for. But we haven't seen it yet, have we? So far we have a somewhat more than neutral answer from an underling...

Grandmère Mimi said...

Excellent letter, JCF. You should have no qualms about your eloquence.

Malcolm+ said...

Had the response ended after the first sentence, it would have been neutral I and vacuous.

Instead, it goes on to assure JCF about the bishop's publicly stated position. One writing on another's behalf could go no further - but needn't have gone so far.

Lynn said...

Dear "Dave,"

I see you have been well-coached in the art of passive aggression. Nothing like walking into the beehive, getting stung...then saying "but all I wanted was a little honey for my tea."

This is not my blog and I'm not the queen bee here - but the people here are my friends. You visited with a comment meant to hurt those that are of the L, B, G and T persuasion. Yes, this is a public but biased forum, and you got your little fur fight. I think you would feel more comfortable somewhere else, perhaps making this one of you personal "read only" forums. As I do with the very puritan sites. It keeps the blood pressure down.
--
Guys, perhaps he's just looking for a recipe.

Fast & East Hot Tea

Place tea bag in a heat-resistant mug or cup. Pour boiling water into mug/cup and let the tea bag sit for a few minutes until water takes on a medium, golden-brown color. Remove tea bag, dispose, and enjoy!

David said...

Lynn,

But where's the sugar and milk ? ;)

Counterlight said...

Excellent letter JCF. I hope it crosses the Atlantic and someone in purple over there reads it.

IT said...

None of you remarked on my comment on Mrs Rowan Williams who doesn't like the term "partner" because it doesn't imply "straight and married".

See comment above.\

IT

Grandmère Mimi said...

IT, maybe we're past caring what Mrs. Williams likes or dislikes. What? Is she afraid someone will think she's a lesbian. I think she's catching whatever disease that her husband has that causes them to say strange things. I wish the whole thing was over. Sorry to sound so cynical, but I'm sick of Lambeth.

fs said...

Great letter, JCF. Your lively mind comes through in full, passionate force. I'm glad you got a quick, positive response. Good job!

Paul (A.) said...

First of all, Dave, Jesus had no problem with gay men, witness his praise for the centurion with the sick boy-toy. So don't start with the "discipleship" malarky. If you want to follow Christ, accept all his children. Exclude any, and you exclude yourself from the Kingdom.

Since you raise the divorce issue, let me refer you to the exegesis set forth here; read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest, and get back to us sometime.

IT (btw, You Go Girl!), clearly the woman's cultural senses are skewed. If her husband the Archbisop is not her partner (my wife is mine), her marriage is a sad shell. Pity!

Lynn, perhaps for Dave's sake you might make it clearer in the last sentence of the recipe which part to dispose of and which to enjoy. (It is the teabag that is to be disposed of.)

Dear Mimi, we all may be tired of hearing about Lambeth, but we can also hope for a godly outcome either sooner or later.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Paul, thanks for that link. Bishop Gene was wonderful, as usual. I have hope for God's church, and what Gene said gives me more hope for TEC. I believe that even the conservative Episcopal bishops are tired of their church getting beat up on and scapegoated for all the troubles in the AC. Even they see that for the foolishness that it is.

But in the end, I have lost hope in the ABC, and I truly do not care what Jane Williams wants to call the partners, spouses, or whatever. The only gay bishop is locked out. How would anyone think a partner referred to a person of the same sex? It's utter, trivial nonsense, and I'm tired of it. Plus, she's hardly an impartial bystander.

Paul (A.) said...

A commenter elsewhere has suggested that the Abp.'s problem is that he thinks that the conflicts within the Anglican Communion can and should be "managed" and "resolved" -- but that's the wrong approach: The representatives of the member churches need to "commune" with each other, and it appears that for the most part that is what they are being given an opportunity to do.

For those that think a covenant is in order, I recommend Mark Harris's for consideration.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Paul, I could live with Mark's covenant, but I still prefer this:

“The Windsor Report,” he said. “It’s just a report. When did it become like The Bible. The Covenant. Why do we need another covenant? We have the Baptismal Covenant. We have the creeds. What else do we need?”

Bishop Martin Barahona, the primate of Central America

IT said...

Hey JCF, this post got a link from Mark Harris.

Lynn said...

IT, Mrs. Williams' little Wah vs. Wap thing started my blood simmering, then I just stopped and rolled my eyes. Then I chuckled over the thought that not too long from now, perhaps everyone's life partner could be a Wah. Let it be a little nip back - maybe should have stuck with Wap after all, dear?

He thinks she me stressed. She can't even coax him into keeping that beard properly trimmed (sorry, that was a hissss)

JCF said...

Ooops, IT, I forgot to respond to your comment about the Missus Williams. When her small-brained/hard-heart quote came out a few days ago, I responded to it on Thinking Anglicans (you may have to scroll down a ways to find it, as news {?} is coming so fast and furious over there)

***

Mark Harris and moi? Well, ahllll be... ;-) [Thanks again, everybody, for the strokes! Me LOVES it! ;-p]

IT said...

You go, Lynn, ;-)

My 'puter timed out before I had the chance to post that I think the best husbands/wives embrace "partner" as well. My beloved and I have become fond of the term. "Wife" has a lot of baggage, and, well, "spouse" seems impersonal. But we are truly enjoying fiancée which we never expected to have available....

On the subject of our wedding (i'm there if the rest of you are not, who knew how incredibly absorbing this is) anyone know a stray priest who would be comfortable being a Deputy Marriage Commissioner for a secular/civil wedding between an atheist and a Roman Catholic? readings include shakespeare, the Apache wedding blessing, and Ruth and Naomi. we are unexpectedly officiant-less.

What: We're inviting God but it's not about Him. (I don't do religion, but my beloved does).
When: a sunday evening in october
where: southern california. About as southern as you can get.

email it_temp@mail.com

Jim said...

Goran,

As may be.

FWIW
jimB
Jim's thoughts

David said...

IT,

I read Mrs. Williams' remarks... and my reaction was the same as Grandmère Mimi's.

I'm finding it really hard these days to give a tinker's damn about what the "other side" in the Great Anglican F*ckup thinks (hey! we could have a convention - call it GAFCon ;)

David |Däˈvēd| said...

Waps, wives and partners, is stupid, in that it does not explicitly mention husbands, which a few bishops have.

Perhaps Saps, spouses and partners, since we still have jurisdictions where partners cannot be spouses.

susan s. said...

Good for you jcf. The letter was great!

David, Saps!!! That would be great in certain circumstances, I'm sure.

Now as to Dave.... the word is spelled sep-a-rate! If you can't spell it, you shouldn't use it!
It's my rant. Not important, I'm sure, but always a tip-off.