Tuesday, February 20, 2007

God Bless the Child

My first pass at this got ridiculously long, and was rather ridiculously knee-jerk, too (even as I kept revising it). The more I review this, the less bothered I am by it. In part because this is what churches do (i.e., "threaten 'consequences for the full participation of the Church in the life of the Communion.' " It is all about boundaries, after all.) In part I'm relaxing my stridency because these documents clearly identify a problem which will not clearly be resolved. Some churches sincerely despise homosexuals, and in fact think they should be treated as criminals. Some churches sincerely accept homosexuals as children of God.

What you gonna do with folks like that?

Ekklesia has yet another take on this (each one is valuable, in its way), which is a bit more help:

The Episcopal Church was faced with further criticism (demanded by the majority in the Global South) for the actions of its constituent parts in blessing gay partnerships, and told to express further regret for the impact of this at all levels. But in the small print there was also acknowledgment of “proper constitutional autonomy”, recognition of the need for further work on principles for interpreting scripture, disapproval for those taking unauthorised oversight measures, and a call to end legal action over property disputes.
Calls because, as I said, the Primates don't really have any power of enforcement, especially over Archbishops. The draft Covenant doesn't change that situation, and clearly, if it did, it wouldn't have even a prayer of acceptance by the Communion ("them that's got shall get, them that's not shall lose, so the Bible says, and it still is news...."). Do you honestly think we're going to make Bishops subject to oversight authority? Nor should we, of course. I agree with the Mad Priest; this is a matter of ecclesiology, not legislation.

Again, Ekklesia seems to have a good view of the matter:

What will seem to many a convoluted and exhaustive process is aimed by its proponents at re-building trust and consensus in a badly fractured church. “Confidence-building rather than confrontation” was how one observer described it to Ekklesia. Less charitable commentators are talking about “ongoing squabbles rather than schism”.
Which is the best we can hope for in these situations. Putting together the scant evidence I have, i think there is a discernable pattern here. Somewhere (perhaps in the NYT interview with PB Schori) I read that the meetings of the Primates are only about 30 years old. This may, or may not, at least roughly correspond to the beginning of attempts, or even the actual decision, to ordain women in TEC. If there is even a casual connection there, then this is just more of the iceberg we are seeing; and these tensions are inevitable as either God does a new thing, or the center of gravity of Christianity shifts to the "Global South."

Oh, and if you still think I'm exaggerating the effect of PB Schori's gender, I found this in my archives. And then there's this, on the subjects of theology, ecclesiology, women, homsexuals, and "building up the church." I'd dig up some more, if I could just stumble across the right keywords.

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