Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Defining "Manner of Life"

This strange phrase has been introduced into discussions of things Anglican by Resolution B033, passed under rather questionable circumstances at General Convention 2006:

Resolved, That the 75th General Convention receive and embrace The Windsor Report's invitation to engage in a process of healing and reconciliation; and be it further

Resolved, That this Convention therefore call upon Standing Committees and bishops with jurisdiction to exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion (emphasis added).
Last month, the House of Bishops attempted to partially define exactly what this "manner of life" might be:

...The House acknowledges that non-celibate gay and lesbian persons are included among those to whom B033 pertains...
By singling out one particular "manner of life" that presents a challenge to the Communion, the bishops seem to have excluded a number of other "manners of life" that one would hope are at least as challenging, if not more so. How about bishops in multiple marriages? Schismatic bishops? Slothful bishops? It seems that if we are to be bound by this "manner of life" language, we really need to help the bishops explore a much more complete definition.

Jeremy, from the Anglican Underground has started just such a list of potentially challenging "manners of life". Here's part of his list:

1.) 1998 Lambeth 1.8 Creation

As you can read below the 1998 Lambeth meeting passed a resolution that takes the destruction of the environment seriously. Therefor I propose that anyone currently in the House of Bishops of in an election for Bishop should have to meet certain standards of environmental sustainability to be considered appropriate candidates. Here is a list of Manners of Life that would be unacceptable: 1.) Driving an SUV or any car that does not get at least 40MPG on the Highway. 2.)Anyone who has not switched to compact fluorescent bulbs. (yes I know that it may be intrusive to come into peoples homes and see what bulbs they are using but the communion is at stake we all have to make sacrifices.) 3.) Any one who has not switched to low flow toilets and showers. 4.)Anyone shopping at Wal Mart...

...2.)1998 Lambeth 1.4 War...1.)Any one who does not actively work and use any, active non-violent means to end war does not have a manner of life worthy of being a bishop. 2.) Anyone who may be invested in a company that profits from the "production and proliferation of arms" is unsuitable and causes untold harm to our brothers and sisters in the global south.

3.)1998 Lambeth 1.15 International Debt and Economic Justice
This resolution has so many ways in which to disqualify someones manner of life. I will just point out that Jesus talks about money more than any other topic in his parables and so maybe we should be talking about it too. 1.) Any person who cannot show a consistent pattern of tithing (at a minimum) does not have a manner of life consistent with the episcopacy. 2.) Anyone who has is not giving .7% of their income to the MDG's is also out. 3.)In fact I think a complete financial analysis of every candidate for Bishop is in order to make sure that they are spending their money in accordance with Biblical principals and Lambeth Resolutions. This report should be made public knowledge and there should be an opportunity for the laity to respond...
Yes, indeed, there are many "manners of life" that one would think have a higher potential to be a challenge to the Communion than two people in a faithful relationships rooted in the love of God.

As a matter of fact, there are so many troubling "manners of life" that unless we establish some process for designating some priority to them, it is doubtful if any human being will ever be able to live up to the expectations placed on our future bishops by B033.

Jeremy offers a possible way to establish such priorities, in what he is calling the Manner of Life Quotient:

...This is how it would work. First everyone would agree on a number of criteria upon which a candidate for the episcopacy should be judged. Second each candidate would go through a thorough investigation process and be given a numerical score on each section. Then those scores would be calculated to give you a Manner of Life score. Each section would be weighted differently based on how much importance is placed on it in scripture and our tradition. So homosexuality would be weighted very lightly, while giving and generosity would be weighted very heavily. So someone could be gay and be very generous and score higher that a stingy straight person. This should clear it all up. I hope to have the criteria and scoring worked out by sometime next week. Any comments would be greatly appreciated...
Sounds like a plan to me, Jeremy.

So, what additional criteria would you like to see included?


No comments:

Post a Comment