Take 4

Mine. (see Takes 1-3 below.)

Conservative bloggers’ anger about the report today from the sub-group that evaluated the Episcopal Church’s response to the Windsor Report is indicative primarily of their apocalyptic expectations. The report may indicate that the Episcopal Church will still be a uni-provincial member of the Anglican Communion at the end of next week. And that of course, in my view, is better than the various alternatives being bruited about. It also seems to indicate that if the Communion is to split dramatically any time soon, it will be the Akinolites who walk out, rather than the North Americans who are shown the door. And if a split has to happen, that is the way I would prefer it to take place.

But even if the Primates accept the sub-committee’s report, liberals should be careful about feeling anything beyond relief. For in saying that Resolution B033, the infamous “manner of life” resolution, is what brought us into “compliance” with the Windsor Report, the sub-committee has tied us to a piece of legislation that was passed in extraordinary circumstances and might well be up for repeal in 2009. In making it clear that “authorized” rites of same sex blessings run afoul of Windsor, and asking us to clarify where we stand on this issue, the sub-committee has puts proponents of same-sex blessings in an uncomfortable position. We can argue that blessings can occur without the benefit of an authorized ritual, but in saying so we seem to lack the courage of our own convictions. If we really mean to stand up for the rights of our gay brothers and lesbian sisters, we ought to stand firmly, to coin a phrase. But the sub-committee’s report will make it difficult for us to do so.

On the other hand, if the sub-committee’s report is indicative of the outcome of this meeting, then the Archbishop of Canterbury may yet succeed in buying time for a Communion-wide conversation about human sexuality, and in clearing the space in which the proposal for an Anglican covenant can be honestly considered. That would be a significant accomplishment, one made possible by his own skillful maneuvering and the great forbearance of gay Christians. The embattled archbishop may one day be lauded for this accomplishment. Gay Christians probably won’t.

In closing, let me refer you to an interesting blog entry by Father Dan Martins, a conscientious conservative who will leap if he must, but would rather not. He was involved in a correspondence with another conservative in which they examined some of the same issues I raised above. I was taken aback by the similarities in our thinking.

Let me also suggest that if Peter Akinola doesn’t split the Communion within the next few weeks, the Anglican right will find a way to use whatever comes out of this meeting as a weapon against the Episcopal Church. They prosecute. They don’t defend. Surely we’ve know that by now.


Mark Haris has examined these issues at Preludium.

Also, have a look at John B. Chilton’s astute analysis on New Virginia Church Man. He writes: “It looks to me that the report gives The Episcopal Church more time to convince the communion that an accomodation of diverse views on homosexuality in the Anglican Communion is the right thing to do.

Conservatives in The Episcopal Church see that as a very slippery slope for them. I can see the Global South pushing for pre-approval of contingency plan to go to a two-province solution if The Episcopal Church doesn’t get to 3 out of 3, or falls below 2 out of 3.”

And while you are at it, have a look at this saddening entry onTopmost Apple. Conservatives in this debate have cornered the victimization market. It’s worth remembering that pain and alienation are being experienced by people who believe justice is important as well.

Past Posts