Monday, March 23, 2009
Lent is an interesting time. It provides an opportunity for reflection. The specific reflection I am talking about has to do with a recent court case. That court case is from California, it involves the California Supreme Court and a parish from San Diego. The court case is New v. Kroeger.
In a recent ruling the California Supreme Court refused to hear New v. Kroeger and therefore the Supreme Court let stand the finding of the lower (appellate) court. In essence, they refused to hear the case based on the Episcopal Church Cases (2009) 45 Cal.4th 467. The Court also republished the opinion of the Court of Appeals which, as we all now understand, makes it a binding precedent.
In that decision the Court held that the former parish board were disqualified from membership because they had resigned from the Episcopal Church. The court let stand the finding that the former parish corporation board members were disqualified from their board membership by their resignation from the Episcopal Church. These same folks also lacked the authority to reassign the parish to a different general church; the court also deferred to the bishop's conclusion that the remaining loyal members of the Episcopal Church were in fact the true board members but also found that to be true even under the general principles of the law.
The reason for the reflection is this case, as was discussed elsewhere, The Three Legged Stool for one, is absolutely huge. There is no place for the conealoneialists to run, no place for them to hide. As some have said, the deed is done. The opposition may argue, may drag things out may insist there is room for discussion, but, alas, there is not, at least not here in California.
So now what? Well, in another blog, Real Anglican, I discussed the issue of the "Big Valley" and the "Big Tent". Reality is setting in, the time is now and we here in the San Joaquin must begin to enlarge the tent to bring in our brothers and sisters returning from the land of Nod. Is this going to be difficult? You bet! Countless numbers of Episcopalians have been hurt emotionally and spiritually. The good news is the long journey is coming to a conclusion and if we are about big tents and reconciliation and passing the peace and loving our neighbor then our time is now. What about the Samaritan? What about the Conealoneialist? We must bring them back in a spirit of Christian love. We must make the big tent work beyond our wildest imagination. If we cannot then we have failed just as surely as they failed us when they left. I know many of the people in the San Joaquin Valley and many of those in the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin. These are tough people but loving people. The only thing we want more than justice is mercy. We know that if we give mercy more will come back. Getting everyone under the big tent is our ultimate goal and mercy is the what will get us all there.