28 September 2007

Stumbling forward

I wrote about clarity just before the HoB statements. The folks on the right really liked what I had to say. I hope that they understand my plea for clarity applied not only to the left, but to the right. Over on Stand Firm a few weeks ago, I was savaged for calling for transparency on the right.

In case all those T19 and SF readers finding their way here now wonder, it is my 100% firm conviction that the church is blessed by the presence and ministry of GLBT Christians. I long for the day when our church is inclusive, in every way, of people without regard to their sexual orientation. I am convinced that this is in keeping with the Bible and with the traditions of the church.

Where I part ways from some progressives is my own sense that how we get there will have much to do with our relationships with our global partners in mission. I think it would be tragic if ECUSA became separated from other provinces. We need their spiritual witness, and they need our witness of inclusion. There is great cost to our whole church (and especially to GLBT Christians) in our current path. I grieve that. But there is even greater cost if we say to moderate Anglicans, "we have no need of you."

What of the Akinolites? We won't please them. No matter what. If we demoted +Gene Robinson to acolyte, uttered imprecatory liturgies instead of SSBs, and resume usage of the 1928 prayer book, that crowd would still not be happy. They, simply put, have no more use for the catholic episcopate or an Anglican sensibility at this point than I have use for pallia and conclaves.

I think our bishops have spoken well (with a caveat to come in a future posting). They spoke with unusual clarity. They spoke with candor. They spoke with astonishing near-unanimity.

Is their allowance for the place of LGBTs in the church our final destination? I hope not. Will we be able to stay in conversation with the entire Communion as we walk forward together? I think so. This is not our ideal place, but I think we have continued to stumble ahead in a forward direction in this earthly pilgrimage.

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