The outmaneuvered middle

The House of Deputies has been frustrating to watch this afternoon. There seems to be a clear majority interested in embracing the langue of “considerable caution,” but it can’t get the resolution on the floor. Hence, it is possible that we won’t make as strong a response as we might like to the Windsor Report.

Here’s what’s been happening: the substitue resolution under consideration this morning was ruled out of order on the constitutional grounds I outlined two posts down. Then the original motion, including the “urge to refrain” language was defeated, getting only about one-third of the votes in a vote by orders.

Later, supporters of the “caution language” put forth a motion to reconsider with the intention of amending the “refrain” lingo to the caution lingo. This needed a two-thirds majority, and it only got 59 percent.

What’s happening is that the left, which doesn’t want to restrict us on the gay bishops issue, and the right, which wants us to fail to respond to Windsor in any meaningful way so that this failure can be used against us in the Communion, are outmaneuvering the middle.

It is still possible that the House of Bishops could tack the “considerable caution” lingo on to one of the more inocuous Windsor resolutions already before it, or that the deputies will use the one Windsor resolution that has come back from the bishops with a small amendment as an opportunity to tack on the “caution.”

But there is still an awful lot of business to get done, so whether people will have the patience for this isn’t at all clear.

Unfortunately, the defeat of A161 is already being interpretted by the media as our final word on Windsor, which, of course, it may not be. But the vote did come down close to early deadlines in the US and late deadlies in the UK. So keep you eyes open for Episcopal Church thumbs nose at Communion stories tomorrow.

I don’t think we are thumbing our noses because that would require enough coordination to get our hands to our faces.

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