Hi, it's Chris (formerly of Progressive Protestant), guest posting for Dwight today. I'm blogging again over here, but hopefully I'll be blogging here occasionally on politics and theology.
Following the Anglican Global South conference, there have been a number of posts about the future of the Anglican Communion. Father Jake has written about +++Canterbury's alarming answers about the consecration of Gene Robinson and other issues, and the Rev. Canon Mark Harris has discussed irregular ordinations and transfers going on in the ECUSA.
These tense moments in the church take us to the very edges of our faith—congregations on both sides in the ECUSA find themselves subject to bishops of opposite and even hostile orientation, lawsuits fly left and right, and every interaction between people in the church turns into an archetypal battle between liberal and traditionalist instead of contact between human beings who are children of God. We start doing things that are reasonable but not loving or Christian. We defend our turf and forget to forgive.
What I find most troubling in the battle that has ensued since the election and consecration of +Gene is how poorly the left has followed his example in all this. Pro-GLBT bishops should be going out of their way to accomodate the dissenters in their midst in any way that does not compromise pastoral support for GLBT persons in the church. We as Christians are called to hand over our cloaks at the first request, forgive seven times seventy times, and act always with humility—not to defrock dissenting priests and bring lawsuits against each other. +Gene has been as pastoral as possible to all sides, recognizing the genuine pain existing on the traditionalist side, and reconciliation would be closer at hand if others followed his example.
The person I am praying for most in all this, however, is +++Rowan. Jake's post points to one of his answers that essentially abdicates responsibility for leadership in these hard times. Democracy has its place in the church, but our leaders must take their call to prophecy more seriously. Dr. Williams should take his stand not with the majority because it is a majority, but with the truth as he discerns it in his heart through prayer. Anything less places the Anglican Communion—and all of Christianity—at a great disadvantage.