Excuse me while I get on my high horse...

9:06 AM

So, last week all of the primates from the far reaches of the Anglican Communion met in Tanzania. Really. They're called primates. I can't make this stuff up. Anyway, for many years, the Episcopal Church, USA has been, well, the Anglican problem-child according to many of our more conservative brothers and sisters. This all took off in 2003 when we here in New Hampshire had the audacity to elect the Rev. Gene Robinson Bishop of our diocese. I feel as though I can take personal credit for this as I was a voting member of that election. It was pretty freakin' cool.

An Aside: As I say this, please let me make it abundantly clear that I don't believe the Episcopalians of New Hampshire were trying to "stick it" to the rest of the Anglican Communion by electing Bishop Robinson. He is a good man and he was a good candidate and we simply felt that he was the best candidate taken from a list of fabulous candidates. In all honesty, his sexual preference really didn't come into play at all. At least not for me.

So, what was I talking about? OH-Tanzania. Where the primates got together for their big meeting. And made some decisions. As Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said in her Reflections on the Primates Meeting: "What is being asked of both parties is a season of fasting - from authorizing rites for blessing same-sex unions and consecrating bishops in such unions on the one hand, and from transgressing traditional diocesan boundaries on the other." It sounds so diplomatic in some ways....but I wonder.....

It sounds to me like we in ECUSA are being asked to put aside part of our commitment to radical hospitality by denying our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters opportunities based solely on their sexuality, whereas our conservative brethren are being asked to keep their bishops on their own turf and let us sort out our set of issues. This does not seem fair and equitable to me. The Great Commandment tells us that You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength...You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.
Unless, of course, your neighbor is gay. Hmm. I don't think so.

As for it being the lifestyle, ask me what I think is better--for two members of the same sex to be in a healthy, committed relationship with one another, or for two members of the same sex to lie about who they are and then run around and cheat on the wives they took for propriety's sake when they'd really rather be with each other. Or, ask me what I think was happening at the time the laws and proscriptions regarding homosexuality that appear in the bible were being written down and if we're even talking about the same think in 21st century America. Or, even better, ask me how I feel about casting the first stone. Of course, nobody's asking me--which may be for the best.

Do I want the Episcopal Church USA to leave the Anglican Communion? No way. Do I think that both sides need to take a step back and think about how the other party feels? You bet. Do I think that everyone is going to have to give a little--or maybe even a lot--for this family to hold together. Absolutely. Is that what I see coming out of Tanzania? Nope, not really.

Another Aside: Am I impartial and the right person to answer that question? Not on your life.

I teach Sunday school using something called the Godly Play Method, and before we begin a lesson, we need to take some time "to get ready." This is particularly important when working with three- to five-year-olds if you want them to sit still through a story, but is also really important for everyone. Often, adults don't know how to get ready (or, maybe they just forgot). So, what I would really like to see is this: I want everyone to take a deep breath (I'm doing it right now). And think about how they feel. And then think about the other side (because there always is another side), and how they might feel. And then just take those feelings and hold them for a while. And then, maybe, we'll be ready.

Because, really, what we're being asked to do is cast the first stone.

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