Two days until the General

Two days until the General Convention and a possible rift, a serious rift, in the worldwide Anglican Communion over the issue of homosexuality – particularly in the U.S. over the approval by the Convention of the recent election of a new bishop of New Hampshire, who is openly gay and living with a long-time partner. As Barrie said yesterday, “be rest assured, regardless of what you hear, this is not the first gay bishop in the Episcopal Church. He is just honest about it.” Or, of the approval of the beginning stages of writing a rite for the blessing of same-sex unions.
As I said yesterday at Ascension, this whole affair is causing me a great deal of distress. I came to the Episcopal Church, really Anglicanism, because there was an allowance for a wide variety of often divergent opinions within the communion, yet everyone stayed together despite the rough and tumble world the allowance caused within the different Church provinces, dioceses, and parishes. The debate and argument brought balance. In my opinion, it brings about better theology and practice. There is less the attitude of the Evangelical/Fundamentalist side of the Church to say, “my way or the highway.” So, now, over this issue, I see the Communion fraying. The conservatives are threatening to leave, to break communion, to cause schism. I understand fully that there are times when we have to draw lines in the sand. What causes me concern, and adds to my distress, is not so much the issue-of-the-day, which is homosexuality today, but the way we are going about dealing with our differences – the process of drawing lines in the sand. I think the conservatives within Anglicanism have been far too influenced by the Evangelical/Fundamentalist churches which have no problem whatsoever in splitting up, making accusation, and attempting to decide who is in and who is out of the Family of God.
So, here is the line in the sand for Anglican conservatives – homosexuality. It was women’s ordination in the ’70’s. It will be something else during the next decade. The issues are not the problem, because there will always be issues, but how the differences of opinion concerning those issues are dealt with is the problem. The way this issue is being dealt with now, worldwide and in this province/country, is not the Anglican way. It is the way of the world and the way of the wayward Church, which thinks that one part can say to another part, “I have no need of you.” Of course, Jesus and Paul said a lot about that, did they not?
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