Monday, February 19, 2007

All Eyes Now Turn to the House of Bishops

The Anglican Primates have finally released an official statement at the conclusion of their meeting in Tanzania, along with a set of recommendations related to "Windsor compliance" and diocesan border crossings.

The statement itself is largely taken up with a description of the current impasse in the Communion. Not much new light shed there.

The recommendations are the heart of the matter. They boil down to this:

1. A VERY cumbersome process to resolve diocesan border crossing and provide alternative episcopal/primatial oversight. It may work if people really want it to do so. We shall see.

2. A request to our House of Bishops to declare unequivocally that no more partnered lesbian or gay priests will become bishops and to issue a "cease and desist" order on the authorization of rites for blessing same-sex couples. The HOB must respond by September.

So, the question for our bishops is this: do you expect us to go back in the closet or not? What price are you willing to pay if the answer is "no"?

And the question for those of us who are gay or lesbian, and our allies, is this: what price are we willing to pay if the bishops' answer is "yes"?

The lie has been exposed: this whole impasse has been about sex all along. And the sole focus on the Episcopal Church reveals how much it has been driven by U.S. conservatives. I must admire their tenacity, even as I deplore their methods and their purpose.

"Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen." (BCP, p. 99)


janinsanfran said...

You write: "and the sole focus on the Episcopal Church reveals how much it has been driven by U.S. conservatives." Of course this is driven by U.S. conservatives. But it is enabled by the status of the United States as a dangerous, rogue state in the eyes of just about ALL who are not somehow clients. Those conservatives, too many of whom (not all) are part of the problem here, have different ends than their friends. That alliance will unravel, not that the prospect is much comfort to the collateral damage, we lgbt Christians.

In particular, in the rest of the world, appeals to our TEC-specific, different, but somehow legitimate, polity fall on deaf ears; nothing good comes out of Washington and the world knows it.

In times of great brokeness, in some ways it all gets simpler. Its our problem to protect and care for the ones who suffer harm, as we can. The rest of the will have to take of itself.

Anonymous said...

John, your entry on this crisis seems so rational. I am heartbroken.

It makes me question my comittment to this institution. How can I promise to uphold the "doctrine and discipline" of a church that doesn't include all of God's holy creation? A church that won't bless our holy relationships? I wonder if it is possible to live a gospel centered life outside of the church?

I pray that my heart won't harden, I pray that I won't lose hope. This is a big blow and I feel foolish and naive for believing the outcome of the meeting would be different.

Good thing Lent is coming because we've been given nothing to celebrate. jackie

Thomas said...

I am encouraged by the bishop of California's proactive stance in drawing our ciocesan community together to celebratet the gifts of Spirit that are so evident as gay and straight members of our diocese pray and work together in the Kingdom of God.

This is a call to redouble our efforts to share the good news of the Jesus at work with any who are at least willing to consider it.

I am not hopeful that those who have hardened their hearts to the extreme can be convinced to "walk along side" of us. But I think by daring to witness unabashedly will sway some in the middle.

God bless us all in this.