Saturday, August 2, 2008

Draft reflections - and misplaced sacrifice

The fourth draft of the Reflections paper (which will be the only formal output from Lambeth) can be found here. Episcopal Cafe has a decent analysis of several points - and several bishops' comments - here.

I only want to comment on a couple of points which are . . . what is the phrase I'm looking for . . . irredeemably stupid.

131. The moratoria cover three separate but related issues: Episcopal ordinations of partnered homosexual people, the blessing of same-sex unions; cross-border incursions by bishops. There is widespread support for the moratoria. This could be the “generous act of love” the communion is looking for. The moratoria could be taken as part of a sign of the bishops’ affection, trust and goodwill towards the Archbishop of Canterbury and one another. The moratoria will be difficult to enforce, so there are some fears as to whether it will hold. But there is a desire to make it do so. There are questions to be explored in relation to how long the moratoria are intended to serve. Perhaps the moratoria could be seen as a “season of gracious restraint”. In relation to moratorium 2 there is a desire to clarify precisely what is proscribed. Most believe it relates to public authorised rites, rather than pastoral support. It is critical that all three moratoria are seen as inseparable and must be applied equally.

All very nice, I suppose. But the current boundary crossers have already told the Communion to get stuffed. Frankly, the declared intent of Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda et al to continue their massive criminal conspiracy to steal the property of the Canadian and American Provinces pretty much leaves all three proposed moratoria, whatever their merits, null and void.

91. The third meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in 1976 spoke about the Communion in this way: “As in the first century, we can expect the Holy Spirit to press us to listen to each other, to state new insights frankly, and to accept implications of the Gospel new to us, whether painful or exhilarating. (ACC-3 p.55)” Lambeth 1998 Resolution 1.10, while reiterating clearly the traditional stance of the Church, also called for sensitive listening. The Bible study and indaba groups gave us the opportunity to meet in a spirit of generosity and prayerful humility which helped us to listen patiently to each other and to speak honestly.

Well, at least they acknowledged that 1998 Lambeth 1.10 called for "listening" - a fact the "conservatives" consistently ignore. But the idea was to "listen to the experience of homosexual persons," not heterosexual bishops. Apparently the drafters of this document fail to comprehend that relatively straghtforward clause.

Here's a hint, folks. In order to "listen to the experience of homosexual persons," you have to have some homosexual persons in the bloody room. Listening politely to straight bishops from North America does NOT fulfill the obligations of 1998 1.10, whatever the myopic drafters may think.

In relation to this confusion, I refer you to another story at Episcopal Cafe.

The language now is about sacrifice. What are people prepared to sacrifice in order to maintain communion. And clearly, the North American Provinces are being asked to sacrifice the full inclusion of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and the transgendered.

Thing is, gays, lesbians, bisexuals and the transgendered aren't being asked, and they have no voice to answer.

The people who are being asked to make a sacrifice are not represented at this conference.

Katherine Ragsdale, also from the Witness, put a finer point on it with her question. It is the essence of Christianity to sacrifice one’s self for others. It is in the inverse of Christianity to ask others to sacrifice themselves for you. The future of the Anglican Communion may rest on the willingness of gay and lesbian Christians to “sacrifice” for it.

And the Communion doesn’t have the good grace to ask them to make that sacrifice directly, preferring to pretend that the Western churches have the moral authority to act as their surrogates.

This is the feudal morality—lords making decisions for their vassals.


Anonymous said...

Bad, bad, bad.

But as you say we shall see how short it lasts...

Anonymous said...

It is going to be interesting to see if anyone is going to act on the recommended moratoria. Bit like a game in which one is watching to see who moves first... My sense is that each "side" will be waiting for the other to make the first move, in which case we will have an effective stalemate.

Malcolm+ said...

That's probably the best outcome to be hoped for, but even that is already a dead letter.

Nzimbi has already declared that he will not abide by a moratorium on the invasions. Akinola, Orombi and Kolini will do likewise in the coming days. Venables may feel some constraint, having actually showed up at Lambeth, but I don`t see him turning the duplicate San Joaquin or the duplicate Recife over to a pastoral council.

Watch for Duncan of Pittsburgh, along with the schismatical primates council to announce the inauguration of the new "orthodox" North American Province within the next month.

At that point, any obligation the North American Provinces (and, frankly, the British Provinces) may (or may not) feel to hold back will be gone.

Three Canadian diocesan synods have already approved a move forward on blessings and require only their bishops' consents to proceed. There will be more dioceses to follow.

There have been several partnered gay and lesbian candidates in US episcopal elections over the past five years. Eventually, one will be elected. (The UK media coverage suggesting five to eight in the next six months just shows your average UK reporter is clueless about the rest of the Communion.)

The proposed moratoria - where Christians ask others to sacrifice instead of sacrificing themselves - is a dead letter before the ink is even applied to the paper, let alone dry.

And chaos will ensue.