13 February 2007

So who's here? And what does it mean?

As I wrote earlier, the Primates' Meeting is for more than primates. In addition to the primates, and their invited guests, there are lots of hangers-on here. I'm one of those.

The predictable conservative folks are here: Martyn Miins, David Anderson, Chris Sugden, and others. Jim Naughton, in a first, has written a blog post in which I think he's off base. He says, "I wonder if they are aware that their presence in Tanzania, like their presence in Northern Ireland, convey to the rest of the world that they don't trust Peter Akinola, Bernard Malango, Gregory Venables et. al. to manage on thier own?"

I don't think that's it. I'm here, for example, not because I have any problem trusting Katharine Jefferts Schori. I'm here to show that there are a variety of perspectives in our Communion. I'm here to chat with reporters. I'm here to write to folks back home. I bet that's the same with many others. This is not about trust. It's about getting the message out. For once, there's a whole team of progressive folks here, along with the usual suspects.

Sitting at my table at dinner tonight, I enjoyed the company of Caro Hall, representing Integrity, from the USA. Colin Coward was there, from Changing Attitude UK and Inclusive Church. Then there's Davis MacIyalla of Nigeria, incarnate proof that Peter Akinola is flat out wrong that Peter Akinola is wrong when he says there are no gay Nigeriana. Then there were some media types around. Stephen Bates from the Guardian (London) and Jonathan Petre of The Telegraph (London) were both there holding forth. Finally, we enjoyed the company of George Conger. That's much diversity at one table. Multiple races, sexes, sexual orientations, theological perspectives, nationalities, religions...

With all that, we had some great conversation around our common table. Isn't that what our church should be like? Sharing a table? That's one of the reaons I'm glad I'm here. We need to do this more often -- moving beyond our notions of others to experience the reality of others. Seeing that we have more in common than our differences. Yes, that's what church should be like.

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