Thursday, January 3, 2008

December 28, 2007

An alternative Lambeth Conference (although not called that) has been called for June in the Holy Land. All the usual suspects are involved and are talking about ‘moving forward’. Two bishops from the Church of England are among the organizers and it is assumed that many of those attending who are otherwise invited to Lambeth will use their Lambeth funds to attend this gathering of the religiously pure and so will, presumably, not attend the later meeting where thy might have to talk to people who are in fact ‘moving forward’ by recognizing the full humanity of women and are at least open to talking to others who suspect that gay and lesbian people might be creatures of God as such.

These are many of the same bishops who have reported no significant ‘listening’ at all when asked to do so by the same non-binding Lambeth resolution that they proclaim as the current basis for orthodox Anglican views on homosexuality. Any claims to their being ‘Anglican’ in any meaningful sense are bankrupt, but presumably necessary in North America at least for the purposes of buttressing legal claims, not that a group of congregations and their clergy have chosen to leave the church but that a ‘division’ has occurred. (Legal documents can be found in various places. This link shows one of the disputed properties on the webpage.)

What will all this mean?

Who knows?

I think the most interesting thing to watch other than the various legal wrangles in the US is what will happen in and to the Church of England. Certainly the views of the conservatives have little or no traction among the general populace in England, but probably have quite a bit of representation in the C of E. Will the bishops of that province who appear to be supporting the GAFCON and so contributing to the weakening of Lambeth be challenged or disciplined? I doubt it. The Archbishop of Canterbury appears to be trying to keep inviting and not coercing conversation and covenant (thus being thoroughly consistent with the model and pattern of Jesus) so is unlikely to exercise any canonical privilege he may have in this regard.

In the meantime it is up to those of us in happy, healthy parishes to keep on doing the work we have been given to do in both proclaiming and responding to the gospel, bearing witness to the good news as we have received and enjoyed it.

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