Wednesday, May 31, 2006

"Shunning Table Fellowship; That'll Show 'Em!"

Last year I wrote about table fellowship as the new weapon:

...First the bible is transformed into a weapon used to beat those with whom you disagree into submission. Now table fellowship is the new tool of destruction to be drawn from the arsenal. We live in bizarre times.

It's difficult to keep track of exactly who is still in communion with whom. Pretty soon, we'll have to answer a questionaire before we can approach the altar...

...It is worth noting that the Episcopal Church has not declared herself out of communion with anyone. I can't imagine a time when we would ever use the threat of excommunication as a weapon. If we did, I would strongly object. It's not our table, after all...
Well, no surprise, I suppose, but it appears that the weapon will be wielded once again at General Convention:

...I believe, as an orthodox Anglican Christian submitted to the Word of God and to the received teachings of the Church throughout the ages and in agreement with my bishop, Robert Duncan, that a state of broken communion exists between those bishops who have supported the schismatic election and confirmation of the Bishop of New Hampshire and myself. In good conscience, I cannot remain in Eucharistic fellowship or sit under the false teachings that supporters of the said election and confirmation promote. I will not, therefore, participate in the daily official General Convention Eucharists of the 75th General Convention, nor will I participate in the Bible discussion groups that follow these Eucharists. I am asking the Diocese of Pittsburgh lay and clergy deputies to agree to these spiritual sanctions. Further, I encourage the deputations of all the Network dioceses to act accordingly and for those orthodox deputies throughout the rest of ECUSA to decline participation as well.


The Rev. David D. Wilson
C4- Pittsburgh
So, one will assume that there will be "alternative" Eucharists offered. But if it is offered by Forward in Faith, an organization that opposes the ordination of women, then the Network will have to offer another "alternative" for those who object to that stance, and then I suppose yet another group will have to offer an alternative to those who object to the Network remaining in TEC too long...and around it goes.

What was it that Bishop Gulick recently said in Louie Crew's interview?

...First of all, there is not rubric or canon that forces people to receive Communion against their consciences. However, Miroslav Volf in his wonderful book Exclusion and Embrace quotes the orthodox theologian Zizioulas. Zizioulas talks about people who think that in the Eucharist they can receive the head without receiving the parts.

One of the things I have come to understand about participating in the Eucharist is that when I receive Jesus I receive every single person who is in Jesus. There is no way that one can receive the head without receiving the parts. If bishops absent themselves and have their own private Eucharist, they are still receiving all of us, because we are in Christ, by God's action in our Baptism. In one sense, it's misinformed theology: [those who absent themselves] are trying to be a part of what they are comfortable with rather than a part of that marvelous body that has been constructed by God's action.

Even if you try to have a private Eucharist of people who are of one mind, God's great trick is that when you receive Jesus you receive everybody in Jesus...
But, of course, if you read the comments following Fr. Wilson's ultimatum, you discover that according to the folks over at Kendall's place, we are no longer "in Jesus." Episcopalians outside of the Network are apostate, heretics, false teachers, etc. The only derogatory label missing from the usual barrage is "satanic." No doubt its exclusion is evidence of Kendall's attempt to "clean up" the comments over there. Which means heretical is now acceptable? Hmmm....may be time to change my subtitle back to the original?

What is the saddest aspect of this whole thing is that the "weapon" of shunning will inevitably backfire. I recall listening to the story of an old timer in recovery from alcoholism. He told of a time when he dropped in on his former wife (who had divorced him because he wouldn't, or couldn't, stop drinking). She sent him away, as he was intoxicated. Enraged, the man decided that he'd really make her pay for that rebuff, and proceeded to get so rip-roaring drunk that he ended up on a psych unit in a straight jacket. At that same time, his wife was at a dinner party, enjoying the attentions of a charming gentleman. Meanwhile, the drunk was shouting at the walls of his cell, "Well, I guess I sure showed her, didn't I?"

We're going to have a party every day at General Convention. If those intoxicated by rage are bound with ropes of sand, made good cable by the "cold dispute of what is fit, and not," and find themselves confined to their self-made padded cells, it will be sad, and they will be missed, but the celebration will go on. After all, the invitation comes from none other than Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. I wouldn't miss it for the world.

So, let's party! There's going to be one particular celebration that I wanted to mention;

The U2charist at General Convention
In Support of the Millennium Development Goals
Tuesday, June 13 at 7:30 pm
Rennaissance Hotel, Hayes Ballroom (second floor)
Columbus, Ohio
Preacher: Bishop Michael Curry of North Carolina
Celebrant: Bishop Chilton Knudsen of Maine

I'll be at Convention, as a visitor and a volunteer. No official status. I doubt if I'll even bring clericals. If you're in the neighborhood, let's meet up at the Rennaissance Tuesday night. I'll be the one in boots and shades, packing a laptop.


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