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Friday, August 26, 2011

Diktat or Negotiating in Good Faith ... What Does It Mean? 3rd and Final Part

Sometimes it takes a while for me to “get it”. I can be a little slow on the uptake. But once I get it, I get it -- “even a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in a while”.

Take these negotiations with TEC-Pgh or lack thereof; I hadn’t really comprehended the fact that these negotiations were not actually connected in any direct way to the Stipulation Agreement or the rulings of Judge James or the Commonwealth of PA Appellate Court. They have been offered to us independently by the TEC-Pgh Diocese. The courts didn’t order them in any way. That being said, the notion of negotiating in good faith, or not, is in the eyes of the beholder. If TEC-Pgh’s idea of negotiating in good faith means setting in stone pre-conditions which are non-starters for the ACNA parishes, that is their prerogative. There just won't be any negotiations.

TEC-Pgh blogger Lionel Deimel has said: "we [the TEC-Pgh Diocese] hold most of the cards so this is more like a plea bargain than a negotiation between equals". From the TEC perspective, they probably think we should be grateful that they are even willing to offer negotiations to us. They don’t have to --which is true.

It had been my hope that the blog entries “Diktat or Negotiating in Good Faith ...What Does It Mean?" Parts 1 and 2 - would generate dialogue across the Great Divide in Pittsburgh. They have to some extent. Thanks to Phil Wainwright, Bruce Robison and Lionel Deimel from TEC and Ethan Magness, Fr. Joe and others from the ACNA for engaging the issues.

I am going to leave it at that and await our turn to come to the table, if it ever gets to that. Meanwhile we will concentrate on the mission God has given us to reach the lost and hurting in our portion of the South Hills suburbs of Pittsburgh and prepare for any eventuality.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, nobody told us as ministers of the gospel we would one day need to be attorneys as well but then again we never thought that the church that ordained us would turn around and drag us to court. Like Ethan I had hope that reasonable people on both sides would understand the convictions of both sides and come to an "amicable" solution but now I'm convinced that the motivations of the people in charge in Tec are fueled by something much deeper than mere fiduciary considerations. I personally think it's deeply held theological beliefs, although these conversations never seem to get to that deeper level. But PB Schori seems to get it when she says "we can't sell property to people who want to put us out of business." She obviously sees the ACNA as representing something in competition with whatever she represents. What's funny is that what started this whole debacle was the Diocese of Pgh wanting to give everyone the freedom to choose which "business" to support and then take their property with them. There was no feeling of putting anyone out of business but rather giving everyone the opportunity to thrive according to their own conscience and beliefs. Sad how freedom is so threatening to some people, as if giving people freedom might create division, when what we have seen is that the use of control and power to keep a diocese "united" has done just the opposite. And so, I will be preaching (probably in tears) from the Roman's passage on Sunday: "so in Christ we who are many form ONE BODY, and each member belongs to all the others." May it be so some day.