Monday 20 July 2009

This What Annoys Me

My view of the Christian Gospel may be critical and at several degrees removed, but this latest statement by Fulcrum relating now to the passing of Resolution C056 by the General Covention of The Episcopal Church is surely not what this Gospel is about:

As outlined above, the rest of the Communion has – in faithfulness to Christ’s call to seek reconciliation - walked patiently with our brothers and sisters in TEC for many years, constantly inviting them to turn around in freedom and relocate themselves within the story of God that we collectively tell as a Communion, a story in which mutual subjection out of reverence for Christ, synodality, and mutual interdependence play key roles.

The seeking of reconciliation is on a far larger canvas than some bureaucratic religious arrangement. It certainly is about people and about bringing the larger society and its prejudices to be reconciled and healed with a group of people who have, for so long, been outside the acceptable and the unwelcomed.

Like Resolution D025 The Episcopal Church has recovered in C056 what it sees as this Gospel imperative, and yet done so whilst admitting the disagreement over the matter and the discernment that is still to go on. C056 is even more careful than D025, in that it is really about the gathering of liturgical resources for presentation to the next General Covention in three years time. Such is a long time to wait for any approved liturgy for same sex couples.

It baffles me that you can have pet blessing services here and there without as much as a murmur, drawing on some of the margins (or at best the often ignored) of the Christian tradition, but you cannot have blessings of gay and lesbian couples without causing a huge fuss. If that isn't an ongoing need for sorting out priorities and reconciliation, then I am at a loss for understanding such an imperative. Thus individuals in places seeking blessings should surely receive them, whilst a Church gathers such efforts up and sees what could be possible, relevant rites for such blessings.

But, of course, some are obsessed with Church bureaucracies for the sake of them, even when they don't exist. Again, if there is such a Communion structure that does not want to involve a Church that looks to bless loving relationships in all its structures, then go ahead and be excluding (as an institutional symbol of exclusion, not reconciliation at all): and it may just be an opportunity for those more organic and friendly means of establishing relationships to reassert themselves over the ambitions of the bureaucratic empire builders.

I don't recall biblical stories of an itinerant healer, teacher and preacher going around his own people and telling them stories of merging differently located religious groupings on the backs of excluding some identified social and cultural groupings of people. And when Jesus did exclude people, like the woman who said that indeed dogs would be better blessed by crumbs, he learnt a lesson and changed his mind.


Daniel Weir said...

What annoys me most about statemenst like Fulcrum's is that seem to overlook the request in the resolution for both theological and liturgical resources. For years I have been hearing people complain that there hasn't been any serious theological reflection about our understanding of marriage and here we have a request for such reflection and some of those same people complain even more loudly, It seems to me that what they really wanted was for me/us to simply refelct back to them their unexamined thinking about marriage and same-sex relationships.

Doorman-Priest said...

Good post. Thanks again for being insightful.

June Butler said...

For me, the Gospels contain the core teaching on Christianity, and nowhere do I see Jesus urging exclusion, except in the instance you mention in which Jesus stood corrected by the Syrophoenician woman, which leads me to wonder if those who feel the need to "walk apart" ever read the Gospels with any seriousness. I'm sure that they do, but they take from them something quite different from what I find there.

And what Fr. Daniel Weir says, too. Plus, it's not completely true that the theology hasn't been done. Perhaps it's more that they have not done the reading in the theology that's been done.