Wednesday, September 26, 2007

TEC bishops have bent the knee to the will of the bully

Giles Fraser, Vicar of Putney comments in The Guardian:
After months of "Anglican church to divide" headlines, the end is, at last, nigh. Those Anglicans who are really no more than fundamentalists in vestments will split off and form a version of the continuing Anglican church, or whatever they will call it. And the moderate conservatives and the moderate progressives will settle down to business as usual. After much worry, the Archbishop of Canterbury will be able to have a good night's sleep. The church is safe.


The sad truth is, the issue of homosexuality isn't splitting the Anglican communion: it's uniting it like never before. Before this great global row, we hardly knew each other existed. Anglicans in the pews could hardly care less about Christians in the next door parish, let alone care for those thousands of miles away in Africa or Asia. But as crisis looms, common cause has been achieved. The Rt Rev Gene Robinson, Bishop of New Hampshire, has brought people together: hands across the ocean, united in homophobia.

It was the Episcopal church that held out longest against unholy unification. But in agreeing to these terms, they too have now bent the knee to the will of the collective bully. The fact that a fringe of rabid evangelicals may now quit the church must not distract from Rowan Williams's achievement in keeping us all together. A crisis has been averted. Gay people remain firmly on the outside; used by the church for vicars and vergers and sacristans, but officially little more than outcasts.

I have never been persuaded that Jesus was gay, as some do believe. But there is no doubt that he too was the outsider, despised and rejected. He also was the victim of official religious persecution. Which is why the other passage that today's Christians ought to give some thought to is the one from St Matthew's gospel that goes: "Just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me."

Read it all here


Roger said...

My heart goes out to you all.
At a time when strong leadership was needed, the gospel message was sacrificed in favor of unity and communion.
As a straight ally, I am ashamed. As an ordained Deacon I am frustrated.

John-Julian Swanson, OJN said...

Let me try some hypotheticals here:

1. Let's say that the HoB voted to approve and authorize SSB rites and to declare that the election of partnered gays as bishops hereafter totally acceptable and to call upon all involved to confirm them. (Overlooking the fact that the HoB does not have the power or authority to do either.)

2. The result:

(A) GLBTs would be ecstatic, and everything could move full-steam ahead in a lot of places with champagne bottle popping on all the leftish blogs.

(B) But the "Common Cause Partners" would then have a wide-open clear road, since surely the ABC, most Primates, Lambeth, and even the ACC simply could not realistically be expected to give total support to so radical a stance, and the upshot would be exactly that the CCPs want: a replacement of the Episcopal Church in America with some other Anglincanish bunch of bibliolators.

So let's look at the other option:

!. The Hob does exactly what it did: validates the PRINCIPLE of equality, but hedges temporarily on the direct application of that principle (based, mainly, on GC and ExCouncil actions over which the HoB has no control).

2. The results:

(A) SSBs of some sort go on under the radar (i.e., without "authorization") as they have always been doing.

(B) The CCP's are stymied in their take-over efforts because the ABC, most Primates, Lambeth, and the ACC will virtually certainly find the HoB's actions to be "proper responses".

(C) The CCPs will not be able to simply go on waiting (too many of them are already champing at the bit), so they will go ahead with a GC version of the AC - reusing to come to Lambeth, excommunicating the rest of the AC, and setting up shop in Alexandria or wherever - almost certainly before Lambeth 2008.

(D) Duncan, Iker, Akerman, Schofield et all will try to take their diocese to the GS or Alexandria or wherever. And THEY will be the ones seen as alienating themselves (that stupid phrase "walking apart") from the AC.

(E) A bunch of canonico-legal stuff will have to be done to rescue those dioceses, but it is certain to succeed eventually.

(F) The covenant chatter will cease.

(G) The AC, TEC, the ABC, Lambeth, the remaining Primates, and the ACC will have - in a sense - been "cleansed" and the GC can move forward clearly for total and unqualified equality for GLBTs.

As you can see, I DO think the actions of the HoB, as regrettable as they are, will probably solve the CCP threat, maintain the integrity of the AC, and enable much more radical and free canonical and practical actions by the GC in the future --maybe even by 2009!

Frankly, I think the HoB steered around the great big iceberg that CCP had put right in our sea-lane, and the HoB needed to deal with that internal challenge FIRST, before stepping forward on understanding shared by +Gene himself (who, more than anyone, has a stake in this matter).

Anyway, the action of the HoB in a sense was NO action, and an odds-on chance of subverting a CCP take-over.

Certainly not all the best, but not impossibly bad, actually!