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Elder’s Fisk of Bp. Briedenthal’s 2009 DSO Convention Address – (Part IV of V)

12 November 2009

Finally, after much prayer and consultation, I have decided that the time has come for Southern Ohio to adjust its policy regarding the blessing of same-sex unions.

[Elder’s Note:  from an anonymous email correspondence, regarding this moment in the bishop’s address: 

“Whilst the good bishop was announcing his change of policy of SSBs, in fact the moment he did so, the light above the podium made a loud fizzle, a pop, then went out.   All I could think of was “Ichabod”, the glory has departed, especially with a convention theme of “let your light shine.”  I’m enough of a pre-modern, minor prophet fan, to see it as a sign.”]

As you all know, in the forums that preceded my election as your diocesan bishop, I was very clear that I thought the church should bless the godly, faithful and lifelong union of two persons of the same sex.

But only just that sin.  Other sins, like drunkenness, gluttony, and gossip, shouldn’t be blessed. 

Moreover, my views on this matter have been expressed in two published books.

That makes you an intellectual.  So, only stupid people would argue with you about this.

So my own views will not be a surprise to anyone.

Are you kidding me?  I’m an Episcopalian, for crying out loud:  Nothing surprises me. 

At the same time, as I also stated in the forums, I do not wish to act in isolation from the Episcopal Church.

Yes, because that’s how dangerous innovations develop – in isolation.  At that point, there is a fact on the ground, and everybody clamors to accept the innovators, because no one really has the you-know-what’s to discipline (i.e., the liberals) in TEC.  So, it’s better to act after we’ve all resigned ourselves to accept the fact on the ground.  That way, we can classify it as integrity.  Cool, huh?

So since I became a bishop I have upheld the policy I inherited, which did not permit the blessing of same-sex unions under any circumstances. It is my view that the recent General Convention resolutions D025 and C056 have altered the terrain,

In other words, when the canons of TEC forbid the blessing of same-sex unions, it was an antiquated and fallible policy.  But our recent GC has infallibly declared, directly inspired by the Third Member of the Holy Trinity too, I might add, that SSB’s are to be done, period.  So let it be written.  So let it be done. 

by reasserting the possibility of godly unions between persons of the same sex,

“Reasserting” = Saying something over and over and over and over and over and over until people throw up their hands and give us what we want.  The term is also used (archaically??) to describe TEC conservatives. 

and by inviting bishops who have jurisdiction in states that have offered some form of civil union to gay and lesbian couples to exercise “pastoral generosity” in offering the church’s public ministrations to such couples.

IOW, TEC priests within flaming liberal dioceses may “marry” same-sex couples if their state has amended its constitutional definition of marriage.  Yet another instance (besides civil lawsuits) where we are borrowing capital from civil authority to cover deficits in our ecclesial authority. 

In so doing, the Episcopal Church has effectively acknowledged that the godly union of two persons of the same sex – by which I mean the union of two persons who have vowed lifelong fidelity to one another, and accept accountability to the faith community as a faithful household – can be blessed by the church.

And doomed many of them to an eternity in Hell, in so doing. 

I am convinced that in fairness to our fellow Episcopalians who have entered into such unions or who desire to do so, we must move deliberately toward the implementation of a policy that will permit and govern the blessings of such unions in Southern Ohio.

Damn the people.  Full speed ahead. 

On this basis, I am lifting the prohibition on the blessing of same-sex unions in this diocese, effective Easter 2010.

Because President’s Day, er, would have been tacky.

I am aware that there are some in this diocese who will be unhappy with this change in policy,

…change in official policy, you mean. 

and that there are clergy who cannot in good conscience officiate at such blessings. It is important to underscore that no priest within the Diocese will be under any obligation – now or at any time – to perform such blessings, and the position of those who wish not to perform any such blessings will be respected and honored.

Except of course, let’s not forget that in these difficult economic times, we might need to tighten our belts (see above).  In other words, we shouldn’t worry, but we shouldn’t exactly breathe a sigh of relief, either.    

I wish to do whatever I can to allay any fears on this score.

Of course.  Because chaos is more difficult to manage, once people start to panic. 

Although it will take some time to work out all the details of this policy, here are a few parameters which I will be imposing from the outset. No blessing of a samesex union shall occur without my written permission.

What difference does that make?  Are you going to question the “priest” who makes the request, to make sure that the relationship in question wasn’t forged in an adult bookstore?  Will there be any criteria for you to determine whether the relationship conforms to holiness, as you have loosely defined it?

I will consider each request individually and will require 60 days notice in each case.

Again… (?)

I expect that at least one of the two persons seeking a blessing within this church will be a confirmed or received Episcopalian in good standing,

I know it’s a stretch to compare a SSB to marriage (i.e., between a man and a woman), but the only Biblical requirement for marriage is that a Christian man is to be married to a Christian woman.  Therefore, a priest should be able to marry a non-Christian man to a non-Christian woman.  Since SSB’s are basically a compromise to an analogy that liberals make between homosexual relationships and the marriage that God instituted from Creation, I guess I’m not seeing the logic of forbidding a same-sex couple who are both non-Episcopalians from receiving your “blessing.”  Frankly, it has the smell of a red herring. 

Also, what will you do if you are confronted with a ‘couple’ which is composed of one Episcopalian and one atheist? 

Also, I note that there is a “B” in LGBT.  What would you do if three people consider themselves in a union, and request a blessing on it?

…and that adequate counseling with the officiating priest (or an agreed-upon substitute) will be required prior to the blessing.

Okay, and the priest will counsel them that Scripture makes no distinction between the homosexuality in Sodom, vs. the homosexuality in Athens;  and no distinction between the homosexuality in adult bookstores and airport restrooms, vs. the self-styled Ozzy and Harriet wannabes of the present day.  Right?

In other words, it’s all an abomination

I acknowledge that these requirements may seem discriminatory to some.

No, just very silly. 

They are however necessary at the present time, in order that I may exercise pastoral oversight as we venture into this new territory for the diocese.

Plus, we want to be sure that they’re not the type of homosexuals who cheat on their lovers, for example, in interstate rest areas.  Though, we’re not sure at this time what separates that type of behavior from what other liberals have called, “occasional moments of grace,” in reference to cheating.  Maybe it has something to do with the frequency of the infraction.  Or perhaps it’s a question of venue?  But what’s the critical frequency?  And what makes for sinful venue?  Oh well, I guess we can throw together a committee to study the matter. 

Similarly, I will be expecting parish priests who wish to perform such blessings to engage in significant conversation with the congregation or congregations they serve before they move in this direction.

Right.  Because the conversation where the priest announces that they will be doing it, will give any conservative cling-ons the chance to get really angry and leave, thus freeing up the “conversation.” 

In asking for this, I do not intend in any way to suggest that the appropriate exercise of the priesthood is subject to any other oversight than that of the bishop’s, but to ensure this policy be a matter of open conversation, and that all local voices be heard.

‘Conservatives, don’t let the door hit you in the backsides on the way out.’ 

In any case, no blessings of same-sex unions will be permitted before Easter 2010. This will give me time to finalize the policy

The policy which will be … “DSO will do SSB’s after Easter 2010,” right?  We’ll wait until Easter 2010 for you to finalize the policy that you will allow SSB’s at or after Easter 2010… that’s the policy. 

and answer the many questions that are sure to arise.

Questions like, “Are you really really really suuuuuuuuuuuuure you’re going to do SSB’s after Easter 2010?, ”  correct?

I have appointed a group of advisors to help me in this task.

‘Advisors’ – People who charitably answer the stupid questions that you don’t have time or patience to field (?). 

…no agenda save to be close to Jesus, …

Who calls us to be without sin, as He is without sin. 

Please pray with me.

Grant us, Lord, the lamp of charity which never fails, that it may burn in us and shed its light on those around us, and that by its brightness we may have a vision of that holy City, where dwells the true and never-failing light, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Oh God, I thank Thee that I am not like those uncharitable Pharisees, praying over there

..(to be concluded tomorrow)..

– Elder

  1. NBS
    13 November 2009 at 4:18 AM

    Please tell me he did not actually say,”Moreover, my views on this matter have been expressed in two published books.” What a strange combination of unbelievable arrogance compounded with a shockingly naive amount of perspective. It is not hard to publish a book when your publisher is the Crowley Brothers and your intended audience is a dwindling left wing echo chamber. What’s hard is actually having someone READ your books. Which, in his case, practically no one–and I mean no one–has.

    Except Kay Sturm, of course. She gave it 5 stars on amazon.com

  2. Elder Oyster
    13 November 2009 at 10:21 PM

    Hehehe. Who is Kay Sturm??? 😉

  3. NBS
    15 November 2009 at 4:20 AM

    Oh she’s just some one you see everywhere talking about how great everything is. I think she was a delegate from this Diocese to the most recent General Convention.

    Which says a lot.

  4. Elder Oyster
    15 November 2009 at 11:16 PM

    She sure didn’t say alot when I asked the delegates about how and why they voted.

    Should I change deoderants?

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