If I Were a Bishop Choosing the New Presiding Bishop
Unfortunately, Jesus did not stand for nomination. He might be thinking, "Been there, done that... Whew!" In his stead, we bishops must choose. Which of the nominees do I trust the most to discern what Jesus would have us do?
Of the nominees, which would best navigate the Scylla and Charybdis of the Anglican Communion? Which would best preside over the House of Bishops, especially in difficult moments, as when one of us has done those things which she or he ought not to have done?
Which would best preside over our province? Which would most creatively work with Executive Council to implement the resolutions of General Convention?
It's easy to serve when everything goes well. How might each nominee serve when something does not go well?
In this drama, the Nominating Committee has the role of Jesse. Our role as bishops is that of Samuel. I like the slate Jesse presented, but I need to discern how each nominee serves in back fields, far from glossy official profiles.
Thomas Hardy insisted, “If way to the Better there be, it exacts a full look at the Worst.”
That's not cynical, but savvy stewardship.
Three of the nominees not chosen in the last two elections for PB retired early because of psychological difficulties. The Diocese of Maryland is not alone in narrowly restricting what the nominating committee get to see, such as reports from Oxford Documents.
The nominating process gives high priority to “balance” in the slate, just as Jesse made sure that Samuel would see only sons, and only sons with the most impressive outward appearance.
My assignment is to discern the heart.
The last three Presiding Bishops have encountered more strife than all their predecessors combined. Which nominee would most irenically lead us and not forfeit our bold affirmation of the dignity of absolutely everybody?
Nominees, progeny of Jesse: thank you for being willing to put yourselves through this grueling process. Generations will bless you for helping to keep our process democratic with genuine choices. Pray that one of the other nominees will be chosen to take up these burdens; and, if our House chooses you instead, know that God will be your ever present help.
- Louie Clay Crew