Just two posts into Crusty Old Dean's ranking of GC Resolution, and already a crisis on how to rank the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music's resolution A049, to authorize for trial use proposed liturgies for blessing same sex unions. To remind you all, COD has devised the following ranking system:
Axios! (Greek for "Worthy!): Resolutions receiving the coveted Axios ranking are GC doing what GC should probably be doing.
Meh: A resolution which, in the words of the Book of Revelation, is neither hot nor cold, neither particularly visionary nor particularly harmful.
WTF?: Resolutions which are ludicrous, useless, or will actually make the situation they are trying to solve worse.
COD finds himself in a crisis over the SCLM report for two reasons:
1) COD finds himself with his first split ranking on a resolution; and
2) because he was unaware, until now, that there was a ranking worse than WTF.
Digression: COD supports blessing of committed, mutually supportive, monogamous partnerships, whether same gendered or opposite gendered. He believes we should get out of the legal aspects of marrying completely, require all people to register their marriage/union according to the civil process, and then bless that in our liturgy. COD has supported same sex blessings for years, from when he chaired his church's worship committee in the 1990s and drafted a blessing of same sex unions.
So why the reason for the decision?
1) On the basis of the liturgies themselves, COD gives his first Axios! They are thoughtful and well-written.
2) It is the process which is the problem. As the SCLM report points out, a grant from a foundation funded the work on these liturgies as well as a meeting of deputies during the triennium. COD finds it completely unconscionable that an outside, partisan organization funded the work of a Standing Commission which drafts legislation. What do we think the reaction would be, say, if the National Rifle Association (NRA) or American Israel Public Acton Committee (AIPAC), a lobbying group that supports policies of the Israeli government, provided a grant to support the work of our Office of Governmental Relations in Washington? Yet no outcry when the Arcus Foundation, specifically devoted to advance LBGT equality, is funding the work of the SCLM, outside of the normal budgetary process, with the money essentially laundered by one of the church's seminaries to preserve the charade? COD is all the more upset by this because of his support for the liturgies themselves and the full inclusion of LBGT people in the life of the church.
The implications of this decision have the potential to be staggering. As we look towards reduced resources for General Convention and denominational staff, should the church now tailor and modify what we do so as to make it more attractive to outside funding? Should we absolve ourselves of the need adequately to prioritize our resources when we can decide to fund things outside of the budgetary process? Will those issues which are pet projects of those in leadership be the ones which get fast-tracked for outside funding? There are other implications and questions raised by this action, yet it was taken with little discussion or consultation.
When it comes to the process for producing these liturgies, this resolution ranks worse than WTF. Where was the oversight from Executive Council, or the Presiding Bishop, or the President of the House of Deputies, who used money from this grant to fund the "historic" meeting of deputies in between Conventions? It would be a shame if the PB and PHOD, who have done so much for this church, should have as part their legacies Standing Commissions for Sale.