Friday, August 25, 2006

Some Common Sente: or Moving Proactively

In our previous discussion, a few commenters noted that responding to accusations is not necessarily the best way forward. I think such charges do require a response, if for no other reason than to expose the unethical tactics being used, but I would also agree that we need to be more proactive.

The following are some concrete suggestions regarding that very topic. They were made by the Rev. Michael Russell, Rector of All Souls', Point Loma, CA, in a conversation being held elsewhere. I offer them here with Mike's permission:

In the game of Go there is a concept called "Sente". It is a move that takes the initiative and forces your opponent to respond. At the moment, all the little meetings happening are a result of the orthopox still having sente. TEC responds to them, not the other way around.

Sente will not be achieved through all the good ministry we do, because it does not set the terms for the public debate.

But if we wish to transform the present moment into sente there are any number of things we could do as a Church --- and the Executive Council could do them --- which would change our tenor from reactive to proactive.

1) Quit apologizing for straining the bonds of affection. We did that at GC, now its time for folks to get over it. If they don't want to, tough, we're done talking about it. Instead we could simply re-affirm the call of the Baptismal Covenant to inclusion (that pesky respecting the dignity bit). Our leaders could all stand up and affirm the inclusion of gay and lesbian folk in the full life of the church (lift up all the GC 06 and previous resolutions that have done that) and our commitment to find the appropriate path to blessing the intention of two people to live in a life long committed relationship. We could go further and indicate that we will not spend another moment in conversation on this, moving instead to deal with all the sorts of important issues ++FTG has been naming right along.

2) Convene an international conference of progressive spirits from the WWAC to formulate a world wide "Merciful and Just Christian" agenda. That agenda would include: a Mission centered campaign around the MDG's: the elevation of the status of women in every province, and establishing a public listening and discourse opportunity in every province. Let's go to Nigeria and meet with the oppressed gay and lesbian community.

3) Extend the jurisdictional umbrella of this group to include any local Diocese or parish in any province of the world that wants to ally with this agenda. Take the money we and the others are now putting into the WWAC and put it into local mission and ministry. Find, train and ordain women and gays and lesbians and establish parishes around them.

4) Extend that same jurisdictional agenda into the ACN Dioceses. Frankly, any diocese that has altered its accession clause to the C&C should be de-credentialed and an alternate structure recognized immediately. It is time to hold Duncan et al accountable for their lawless behavior. If they cry martyrdom and oppression of the orthopox, that's just fine, let them cry. We simply affirm the decisions of GC surrounding women and gays and give aide and comfort to those parishes and individuals who wish to be out from under the oppressive and abusive and misogynist thumb (of some but not all) of the ACN crowd. With the CT decision we should change locks and freeze bank accounts.

5) Take some of the money we are using on the WWAC and spend it on a nation wide television campaign about the mission focus -- MDG's and the other potent ministries in this church -- and run it in all major TV venues. Focus them on ERD, MDG, and what Welcome means. Create a mixture of warm and fuzzy for some and hip-hop/Ipod for others. Put George Martin in charge of this campaign.

Or we can just keep having little meetings to perseverate over talking to and appeasing people who have moved beyond reason to fanaticism: they can't change their minds and they won't change the topic. By seizing sente instead we can watch the birth of a far more courageous and intentionally merciful and just TEC and MJAC (Merciful and Just Anglican Communion)
Sounds to me to be an excellent plan.


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