Church Blessings, Sort Of
L.A. Times reports that the bishops at the General convention of Episcopal Church officials in Anaheim “endorsed the creation of blessing liturgies for same-sex unions one day after they ended a de facto ban on the ordination of gay bishops”
“the resolution passed by an overwhelming margin, with 104 bishops voting yes, 30 voting no and two abstaining after a failed attempt by some bishops to kill the measure. The resolution must still be approved by clergy and laity in the church’s other legislative body, the House of Deputies – a step widely viewed as all but certain.”
The American Episcopal Church is part of the Anglican Communion, which has urged it’s American cousins not to take this step, since the church is already divided by the issues – same-sex marriage and the ordination of gay bishops, even “married” gay bishops –and four dioceses and dozens of congregations have already split to form a “rival church.”
Interestingly, the measure voted on “calls to Episcopalians to ‘honor the theological diversity of this church in regard to matters of human sexuality,’ but clergy who object would not be required to deliver the blessings.” Which is interesting: A church that allows “choice” in is liturgies and customs.
As for the break-away groups, many people might view that as a bad thing. I view it as a really good thing since it indicates the vitality and livingness of this particular church. Dead theology, dead churches, dead congregations to not cause members to break off congregations and form their own churches when they feel their theology isn’t being practiced like they want it to. Folks with living religions always take the ball and go find another playing field.
Indeed, it’s one of the hallmarks of religion in America: Yeasty growth. It’s like one big San Francisco sourdough starter – centuries long, still chugging away, still able to create whole loves of bread, never mind the fishes. In short, it’s a perfect illustration of the enormous benefit of NOT having a state established religion.
And the Episcopals splitting over this issue is full of irony. The church’s original founder was Henry VIII who – talk about yeasty – broke from the Catholic Church so he could divorce his first wife and marry Anne Boleyn. Theologically and scripturally, divorce was verboten so Henry said phooey and broke off to form his own church so he could have his way (and hired all kinds of “theologians” to write and defend and support his views. Heck, he even wrote a lot of the supporting documentation himself.) So, Episcopals have a tradition of, let’s say, pragmatic adaptation. As this present Convention noted, “The resolution calls for the church to ‘acknowledge the changing circumstances’ in the Unites states and other countries that result from legislation authorizing or forbidding marriage, civil unions or domestic partnerships for gays and lesbians.” Changing circumstances. Exactly what Henry VIII called it. He loved his wife but Oh you kid, he needed an heir. Circumstances had changed, the Catholic Church wouldn’t, so the Anglican Church was born.
As I said. Bubbling yeast.
Make Hay While The Sun Shines
Margot Roosevelt at the Times reports a new study finds sharp increase in rooftop installations in San Diego, L.A. and San Francisco. Which is a good thing. As usual, there’s a fly in the ointment: The for-profit power companies are reluctant and or hostile to “robust” legislation allowing/requiring a “feed-in tarrif, such as the one in Germany, which would allow homeowners who install extra capacity to seel their electricity back to utilities at a favorable rate.”
For profit utilities fear such a move since it would cut into their profits and you can be sure they’ll oppose any such plan, which will slow down any idea of serious and practical solar use so that private companies can make money . . . while the world burns. And here’s the sickest part of all this: Centrally located solar plants (which the large utilities are seeking to build) use enormous amounts of water, which we’re running out of, are located way out in the back of nowhere, thereby have transmission-loss problems. Solar panels on every available rooftop don’t. Further, urban local roof panels don’t have to transmit power that far since the grid is all around them as opposed to being located way out in the desert somewhere.
So here’s the sad part, which could but will never happen: Suppose California “nationalized” the utilities and turned them all into non-profit publicly owned utilities, slap solar panels on every willing home and business (Rent-A-Roof) and parking structure and parking lot around, feed all the “excess” power back into the grid for all the other public members of the publicly owned utilities, how much clean, renewal power would be available? As for the shortfall, the missing part can still be provided by other traditional power plants, also owned as a non-profit publicly owned utility.
Yes, people would cry “Commie,” but if you recall during the experiment in energy de-regulation (remember, the free market will solve all problems!), while California was being screwed royally by private industry (think Enron), communities who had publicly owned utilities weren’t being whipsawed into bankruptcy.
Yet another issue (like universal medical coverage) where our belief in the “free market” can blind us to a too often harsh reality: The “market” has no interest in our welfare. At all. It IS interested in separating us from our money and will game us and tilt the playing field and lie and buy off politicians to do it. And, being the suckers we are, we think this is not only the way it’s supposed to be but is the best of all possible worlds, as we’re left sitting by the side of the road with holes in our shoes, pockets empty while our fleecers drive off down the road with our cash, laughing all the way to their offshore banks.