The Episcopal Church's consent to Mary Glasspool's election as bishop suffragen in Los Angeles is raising the expected eyebrows while celebration is coming from many quarters. I celebrate while remembering the sober caution against the tendency of both press and controversy to distort Canon Glasspool into the narrow headline box of "openly lesbian bishop." She is rather an enormously qualified and gifted bishop-elect, a gift to the church, and yes indeed presents a gracious challenge to the narrow phobias, brinksmanship, and bigotries that continue to roil the Anglican Communion.
In truth, the fuss now is not about Mary Glasspool. It's about us as a yet unperfected Body struggling with our own shadows. Thankfully, Christ is with us in the struggle.
Lambeth Palace, meanwhile, has issued a most patronizing statement in response to the consent:
It is regrettable that the appeals from Anglican Communion bodies for continuing gracious restraint have not been heeded. Following the Los Angeles election in December the archbishop made clear that the outcome of the consent process would have important implications for the communion. The Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion reiterated these concerns in its December resolution which called for the existing moratoria to be upheld. Further consultation will now take place about the implications and consequences of this decision.
But is this "gracious restraint" from Lambeth Palace? More like "ungracious straining."
With the sieves and distortions that often come with the quest for eccesiasiastical control, I am reminded of Jesus' admonition to us all, Scribes and Pharisees that we can so often be:
For you tithe mint, dill, and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. It is these you ought to have practised without neglecting the others. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel! - Matthew 23:23-24Mark Harris, Tobias Haller, and Father Jake all offer, as always, great insight.