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"Bending the Map" and The Road to Camp Allen [split in TEC left]
Stand Firm ^ | 8/29/2006 | Greg Griffith

Posted on 08/29/2006 5:24:27 PM PDT by sionnsar

Recently, even left-of-center Virginia bishop Peter Lee has been accused of selling gay Episcopalians down the river. For that matter, Frank Griswold has come in for the same criticism. Folks, when you think Frank Griswold isn't carrying the gay agenda's water, you're bending the map.

Today Brad Drell posits the theory that the Camp Allen meeting of "Windsor Bishops" in September, called by Bishop Wimberly of Texas, will in fact be the first meeting to plan a way apart from - one might even call it a coup d'etat against - the leadership of the Episcopal Church. On a thread at his site, there is speculation as to who will be at Camp Allen. (I should note that Stand Firm understands there will be a second meeting, perhaps the week before, of "quieter" Windsor bishops, and that about 10-12 of them will attend that one; so while Drell's guess of 40 may turn out to be accurate, it may be that they're spread out over two meetings.)

Drell makes a good case. It's hard to argue that there's any other reason for this group of bishops to get together - at this time during this debate, and under +Wimberly's stipulations for attendance - than for the purpose of giving some shape to their future together, without the incoming leadership of the Episcopal Church, and without the most revisionist dioceses of the church. It's difficult to imagine that if this group of bishops had confidence in +Griswold or +Schori to lead them down the path they wanted to go, they would even be talking about such a meeting, much less actually holding one.

Note that this is not like the upcoming NYC summit, where bishops may "bring a buddy, any buddy." +Griswold, +Schori, and a raft of other revisionists - +Bruno, +Chane, +Bennison, and +Curry, to name but a few - cannot attend without backpedaling on years of public positions. Ponder that for a moment: The Presiding Bishop, the PB-Elect, and the bishops of at least a couple dozen of TEC's left-most dioceses, cannot attend.

There are important observers in this debate who put the chances of these bishops' leading a successful coup against 815 at or near zero. While Drucker's maxim - the best indicator of future performance is past performance - may mean the smart money is on failure, the real importance of the Camp Allen meeting is not anything specific that comes of it, but the fact that it's being held at all.

Consider: Just 18 months ago, about the only bishops willing to take a public stand both in support of the key points of the Windsor Report and to the exclusion of Frank Griswold and the rest of the Episcopal left if need be, were about a dozen bishops who had either coalesced into the Anglican Communion Network, such as +Iker and +Salmon, or been just as adamant about their stances but had not joined the Network, such as +McPherson.

Now, that number has quadrupled.

While revisionist bloggers may not have recognized the coup undercurrent of Camp Allen, plenty of them have been spittin' mad about the fact that the meeting is being held. Honestly, I don't think it's occurred to any of them the revolutionary implications of the meeting, because everywhere we look there's evidence that they're just not living in the same world we are. I've written before of the phenomenon wilderness rescuers call "bending the map" - when people lost in the wilderness ignore sign after sign of their real whereabouts, preferring instead their abstract notion of where they think they are - and I can come up with no more succinct term for the current revisionist hysteria.

Recently, even left-of-center Virginia bishop Peter Lee has been accused of selling gay Episcopalians down the river. For that matter, Frank Griswold has come in for the same criticism. Folks, when you think Frank Griswold isn't carrying the gay agenda's water, you're bending the map.

The problem is that, as has been pointed out over the past several months, there is a widening split between the radical Episcopal left (the "ideological" left) and the moderate (or "institutional") left. And it's only going to get worse.

Time was, the Episcopal left was very patient. It was content to move its agenda along slowly, what I thought Susan Russell meant by her "inch at a time" philosophy: At the next general convention, we want a resolution apologizing for the church's treatment of us. Three years later, we want a resolution accepting us as full members of the Body of Christ. Three years later, let's get something else. Three years later, a little bit more. Three or six or nine years later, let's try for an openly gay bishop, and loosen the restrictions on gay blessings.

But I'm less and less convinced that by "inch at a time" Russell meant that kind of progression - at what must seem like a glacial pace, a pace that would have the movement's elders (of whom Russell is one) joining the choir invisible long before they saw their goals achieved.

Instead, Russell and most of the people in control of the gay movement within the Episcopal Church have injected a temporal element into it: It's no longer good enough to get what they want when they can get it; they must get what they want now, or else it's an injustice of cosmic magnitude. You can see this writ small on highways all over the country every day. How many times has a car stayed a few hundred feet behind you for 20 miles, only to scream past you, get in front of you, and slam on the brakes so they can take their exit?

The old gay agenda used to be: Let's get what we want, but let's take our time, or else we'll spook everybody. But for the last few years, delay equals injustice, and it cannot be tolerated. Thus the recent attacks on ++Rowan, +Lee, even +Griswold.

The radical left has given its ultimatum to the center and center-left: Endorse our agenda completely and immediately, or it's war. Thus the coming spectacle of bishops such as +Lee - who would have gladly played their temporary part in a long drama which after 40 or 50 years might have achieved the radicals' goals - sitting down with bishops such as +Iker, and not letting the likes of +Griswold and +Schori in the door. Now, plenty of so-called moderates who would have been fine with looking the other way while the camel worked his rear end into the tent, are now in the position of having to tell the gay lobby: This is where we get off the bus... If it's full-bore gay revisionist theology right this moment, or the Anglican Communion, well... sayonara, sisters.

Years from now, "movement" gays may look back at Susan Russell, Elizabeth Kaeton and the rest of today's leaders and blame them for wanting too much too soon, ruining it for all the activists yet to be born. In only a few short years, we may all be able to look back at the middle of this decade as the high-water mark for gay activism in the Episcopal Church. And to think it was because it so quickly turned into a flood, instead of remaining a slow, steady trickle.

TOPICS: Mainline Protestant; Other non-Christian

1 posted on 08/29/2006 5:24:30 PM PDT by sionnsar
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2 posted on 08/29/2006 5:24:58 PM PDT by sionnsar (†† |Iran Azadi| SONY: 5yst3m 0wn3d, N0t Y0urs | 8/30: National Geek Day)
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