17 August 2007

Proper response to an improper request?

The Living Church has this:
Bishops who have made a public commitment to support the Windsor Report have asked the Archbishop of Canterbury to be clear and articulate in explaining what the consequences will be if the House of Bishops fails to give the assurances sought by the primates.
The self-styled Windsor Bishops could have asked me that question, and I would have provided an answer for less travel expense. The consequences will be that many primates are miffed.

I remind everyone that since the Windsor Report has issued, ECUSA has made no further "anti-Windsor" actions (i.e. ordaining openly GLBT bishops or authorizing same-sex blessings). Meanwhile, the so-called Global South bishops have habitually invaded others' jurisdictions -- in violation of the Windsor Report they love to selectively quote.

In addition to the question of consequences for ECUSA if our HoB rejects the terms of the Dar es Salaam communique, I'd like to ask a few questions:
  • What are the consequences for the primates of assuming more power than anyone has given them?
  • What are the consequences for ignoring requests to cease and desist provincial incursions?
  • What are the consequences for failure to begin the Listening Process requested by successive Lambeth Conferences in 1978, 1988, and 1998? (Fake "listening" doesn't count.)
  • What are the consequences for the church of sinful exclusion of many of God's children from God's house?
  • What are the consequences of spending all our energy on battles over (minor) points of moral theology, rather than focusing on our Gospel imperatives of evangelism and discipleship?
So, Windsor bishops, don't preach too much about consequences and the communique. There are more important matters are stake. The communique is an attempt to hijack the church and turn us from Anglican comprehension toward confessional extremism. The request itself is a symptom of the problem, and I think the best response might be a gentle "no thanks" and an invitation to honor the Lambeth resolutions from 1978 onward.

3 comments:

fatherjones.com said...

Honoring Lambeth resolutions -- umm -- dude -- that goes both ways.

Ann said...

Thanks Scott. Everyone knows that Lambeth does not have power in its resolutions - they are only advisory - good thing we ignored the "birth control" resolution when it was passed.

Scott Gunn said...

Greg, I think if we followed the resolutions -- including the bits about listening -- we would actually have a different situation today. Had we done that following 1978 or 1988, we might not have had the coup in 1998. Even 1998 has been ignored by the extreme right -- not just by the left (e.g. ECUSA).

Ann, I'm not sure everyone knows this. Reading the prose emanating from Abuja and Pittsburgh, some people have elevated Lambeth to an authority that's equal to the Councils of the Undivided Church. My main point is that we'd be better off (both right and left) if we paid attention to Lambeth, not just the parts we happen to like.

To your point particularly, it's worth noting that Lambeth has changed its mind on all sorts of things (slavery, women's ordination, birth control, and polygamy, to name a few) and so we might expect that human sexuality would be open to new understanding as well.