Brad Drell unravels Episcopalian double-speak.
Update: Captain Sacrament translates for Brad Drell.
Orthodox/traditionalist/reasserting believers within the Episcopal Church (TEC) have been complaining that the majority of TEC's leadership has been creating bishops that do things that bishops ought not do, such as engage marital-type unions with same-sex partners, perform the rites of Christian marriage for same-sex partners, or deny the divinity or sinlessness of Jesus the Christ. When they do complain, the liberals/heterodox/reappraisers respond that the office of bishop doesn't really matter - the bishop is nothing more than the local leader of a local church, and it's no one else's business who is elected to someone else's diocese.
When conservatives respond that, no, really, the office of bishop is a symbol of unity in the wider church, and that bishops themselves have a responsibility to exemplify core Christian ethical commitments, this assertion is simply denied by the other side. The office of bishop isn't really meant to be all that.
The rest of the bishops of the Anglican Communion has called upon the House of Bishops of TEC to make some Difficult and Important Decisions. The liberals complain that under "our polity" (a fancy word for "according to our interpretation of the rules we done wrote") bishops are simply not that important, and that the EPISCOPAL CHURCH is not actually governed by bishops, and so the HOUSE OF BISHOPS is not constitutionally authorized to make decisions for the entire EPISCOPAL Church.
You were supposed to laugh at that, it's really funny.
The joke, you see, is that the word EPISCOPAL means "governed by bishops." Everyone go look it up. I'll wait.
The argument is that, like the Southern Baptist Convention, the Episcopal Church is not a true and complete decision making body until one week in the summer when everybody gets together to vote.
That wasn't a joke, but it's surely very funny.
As far as liberals in TEC are concerned, bishops govern the Church like the Queen rules England. Just for fun, just for show, and only to justify pretty gowns.
Until... somebody violates the authority that a liberal bishops wants to assert. When another bishop sends a missionary priest without diocesan permission, or a parallel Anglican jurisdiction is set up to replace that of an apostatized diocese, then the offended bishop rails about the ancient, venerable EPISCOPAL polity of the Anglican Communion and "of this Church," blah, blah, blah. Or when they can brag about having the first partnered gay bishop or the first girl Archbishop, and so on. Then the episcopal office seems to really matter.
The point: when somebody says, "it's not in our polity," that's a cop-out.