Quotable: ‘The national church has gone off the rails’

“The national church has gone off the rails,” said Torre Bissell, a lay person who runs a diocesan intercessory ministry and has asked on a blog (post from 5-19-2008) that people pray for passage of both measures.

The Schenectady computer consultant added, “I don’t know that there’s ever been any place in Scripture where marriage was not between a man and a woman. It’s always been between a man and a woman, and the current culture is trying to change that.”

The Times Union’s Marc Parry is writing about the business of the church again, with the it’s all about sex slant. Nothing like helping to stir up controversy. Of course, “it” is the church’s teaching and policy about marriage and the reason “it” has come up are proposed changes to the Diocese of Albany’s canons (essentially, officially operating policies) regarding marriage, and the ordination of clergy. Read the text of the proposed changes in this post – EDOA Refining Canons on Marriage, Ordination.

Seriously, this isn’t about sex at all. It’s not about infringing on someone’s rights at all. It’s about the long-standing teaching of the church that marriage is between a man and a woman. It’s about expecting clergy to be married according to church teaching or be celibate according to church teaching for all unmarried people. Never mind that this has long been the teaching and policy of this diocese. These canon revisions simply and clearly state what the policy already is. It doesn’t exclude anyone. It doesn’t tell anyone whom they can or cannot be attracted to. It does state the expectations of the bishop for the conduct of marriages in his diocese according to his apostolic responsibility to “guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church” (Book of Common Prayer, p 517). It also calls leaders to model the biblical teaching that they are to be faithful in marriage and celibate in singleness. That’s the call to all married and single Christians!

But, as I’m sure we’ve all seen a thousand times, changing the terms of the discussion to sex and discrimination makes for more emotional convention business meeting arguments (and better, if inaccurate headlines). I’m praying for the adoption of these canonical revisions clarifying the existing policy in the EDOA and the long-standing teaching of the Christian church. I’m praying for Bishop Bill Love, and I’m praying for the clergy and deputies to the convention. Most importantly, I’m praying for clarity in the hearts and mind of those voting and seeking to influence the voting; that they will see and understand that this is not a rule change with which to hurt, persecute or discriminate, but a clear statement of current standards and teachings in the church.

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3 Responses to “Quotable: ‘The national church has gone off the rails’”

  1. Tracy
    May 24, 2008 at 11:16 am #

    Right on Patti!!! Way to cut through the gunk and get to the point. Gosh I love ya!

  2. Torre Bissell
    May 24, 2008 at 8:25 pm #

    Patti, It is great to be in company with the saints of God like you. Torre


  1. my view — at the intersection of life and grace » EDOA Convention passes updated canons - June 8, 2008

    […] It was reported at our morning services today that the Episcopal Diocese of Albany’s Convention debated and passed the updates to the Diocesan Canons regarding the definition of marriage and qualifications for clergy. I do not know if there were any revisions or amendments made during the debate, but the original language of the policy is posted here, and a related post is here. […]

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