In no particular order:
- This is no longer about only the Diocese of New Hampshire. Now we have significant news (good news, to my thinking) from several places. California wants to move ahead with same-sex blessings. So does Montreal. And Ottawa too. This complicates the conversation, but I think it also reminds the world that the proverbial horse is out of the barn. Whatever resolution we're going to reach needs to happen, because we're not going back on GLBT issues.
- The Joint Standing Committee gave the ECUSA HoB a passing grade. Jim Naughton has a good commentary. What I find more interesting is the reaction from the right. When they think the Communion authorities are leaning their direction, we hear, "Polity! Authority! Discipline!" When the results are not what they want, we hear "Bizarre! Conflict of interest!" Nonsense. Bishops consult one another. It's what they're supposed to do. There was no conflict of interest, just consultation of interest. If you want to talk about conflict of interest, that would be a primate leaving the Primates' Meeting to consult with his secessionist plotting friends.
- The Archbishop of Capetown says it like it is:
- The HoB statement was not without its problems, as Lisa Fox notes. We can't deny sacraments to people while we claim that our church includes them fully.
- Bishop Iker of Forth Worth says "We have Concluded there is no Future for us in The Episcopal Church." Please. Enough. I have grown weary of the attempt to make Every Instant A Dramatic Moment. Drama. Crisis. Doom. If you plan to leave, just leave already, and let us get on with the Gospel. If you want to stay, we'd like that. In the latter case, we need you to talk with us and work with us, not to threaten us and cajole us.
- Canon (or Cardinal-elect) David Anderson has made an astonishing discovery: "With ears carefully turned to Lambeth, we find that Rowan Williams is determined that Lambeth 2008 will absolutely take place, and on his terms." This "discovery" is astonishing only because it maintains the reality of Lambeth Conferences since 1867. What did Canon Anderson imagine was going to happen? Was he hoping that Archbishop Rowan would phone him up for thoughts about who to invite, which font to use on the invitations, and whether to ask for the "Favour" or the "Favor" of a reply? Again, I say: please. Say after me: The Lambeth Conference is a gathering held at the discretion and design of the Archbishop of Canterbury. If you don't like it, AAC, maybe you should hold your own gathering. Oh, right. You're already doing that.
- Finally, ECUSA's Presiding Bishop gave a lengthy video interview on Tuesday. I found most it to be compelling on honest. I had some problems with one bit, and so did Lisa Fox. Lisa had submitted a question asking how Bishop Katharine had suffered in all this, as she sometimes says. The answer was this: "Personally, what I suffer – the crucifixion I suffer – is not being able to include the fullness of the gifts of my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters – that they are not yet able to live those out in all orders of ministry in this church." I'll say the same thing I said to The Pope of Pittsburgh: stop. Don't talk about crucifixion. No one is dying in ECUSA because of this issue. No heterosexual people are really suffering too much in all this. Our GLBT Christian friends are suffering the most, in some places risking their lives just to be who they are. Please refrain from the dramatic language, which is neither helpful nor accurate.
This has not been an easy road to travel. Much remains to be done and we must continue to strive earnestly together to find the path ahead. The experiences of my own Province, both through the terrible divisions of the apartheid years, and in the differences of our earliest history (which contributed to the holding of the first Lambeth Conference), have repeatedly demonstrated that holding fast to one another yields lasting fruit, while separation solves very little. Our God is the God of reconciliation, not of division, and we can take courage that he will continue to guide our way forward. I am sure that as we continue to abide in Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord, in whom lies the gift of unity, that we will find ourselves, our churches, our world-wide Communion, refined and strengthened, for the life of worship, witness and service to which we are called.