This is the first specifically positive development in a long time for those who hold traditional views.The "positive development" is "permission" to ignore or not ordain women as priests, not to ban gay bishops and drive gay priests out of the priesthood. As Fr. Jake notes, a very serious attempt at "rollback," indeed. Fr. Jake handles this matter quite well. What is interesting to me is less the honesty of intent espoused here, than the boldness with which it is said; a boldness which, I think, has suddenly become anachronistic. Not just because Fr. Jake has filleted such reasoning to a fare-thee-well, but also because other people are paying attention:
People who want to act in a militant and mandatory way will not be dissuaded. The great value is the moral force of an international forum saying our position is recognized and our provisions adequate. It gives us the moral high ground in all this.
The cat is out of the bag. It is about sex, after all.As Mr. Gushee understands, it is all about power, when it should be about justice:
The breakaway parishes in the Episcopal Church make all the right noises about their struggle for theological orthodoxy, biblical purity and traditional Anglican values. Cut through all the verbiage, and their issue is sex, specifically homosexuality in the church's leadership, with a side order of bias against women.
That is the height of ecclesiastical arrogance borne of mind-numbing hubris. Bishops of different jurisdictions do not muck about in another bishop's territory, but this sanctimonious crowd observes no such niceties. They alone, they claim, know the truth and read Scripture accurately.The power to judge is the power to condemn is the power to destroy. Somebody tell me where, anywhere in the Gospels, Jesus ever advocated the use of that power by his disciples.
The great danger in all this — apart from the disgraceful treatment of homosexuals — is the growing power of bigots to use the Bible to condemn those who are different. Christians have long done that against Jews, blacks and women.
What's really interesting here is that the zeitgeist seems truly to have shifted since 11/7. Probably (certainly, in fact) it was a long time in coming; surely it has been building slowly, almost subterraneanly, and is now ready to force a reverse of the trend in the political and religious and even spiritual culture of (at least) this country over the last several decades (at least since the revolutionary spirit of the '60's petered out into yuppies and dinks and the Internet bubble). Is it too early to predict such a sea-change? Perhaps.
But it's not too early to see that something is in the air; and it's not necessarily coming from the "leadership," and it extends beyond politics and Washington, D.C. The more boldly "they" speak out, the more emboldened "we" are to claim our rights, too.
Keep awake, therefore, for you never know the hour....