Sunday, August 03, 2008

Impacts and Impasses

There is a poll on the Walking with Integrity blog asking readers what we think is the overall impact that will come from this Lambeth Conference. The results at the time that I voted expressed a “somewhat negative” impact is expected over the next decade. I disagree. I think that the conference will help bring about a “somewhat positive “impact.

One positive thing I believe that this conference showed was the ridiculousness of those who are still whining about women as priests or bishops. Regardless of which provinces do or do not ordain women or consecrate them as bishops, the Episcopal Church of the USA does as do many more. This is an accepted fact by the communion at large. It is an issue to very few other than Jack Iker or Keith Ackerman. Regardless of whether others agree or disagree, it would seem that this is just a fact that they are willing to accept that some do; some don’t.

I also believe that the “blogging bishops” were a very positive aspect of the conference. From this side of the ‘pond’, it was it a fantastic thing to not depend upon the biased or empty headed so called “journalists” for news, but more than that, it seemed to empower certain bishops, giving them confidence as they shared their own thoughts with the world wide audience. I think that we (the reader) gained insight that has never been available before this conference.

I also believe that the ludicrous reports about gay and lesbian activists “chasing bishops” around and about make the ones making the statements appear as fanatical as they are. The idea that the conference has been seen by many bishops as achieving the very purpose that the Archbishop of Canterbury desired for it, that is, one in which the bishops would come together, study, pray and listen to one another, is fairly obvious. For that one or two bishops to claim that it was a waste of time makes one wonder why they came at all. Oh, that’s right…I forgot…vacation time for the family. I hope they all had fun. I wonder if anyone has checked out exactly how much the Diocese of Fort Worth has budgeted for the past few years for this little family vacation. And then of course there is the Bishop from Quincy…the diocese can’t/won’t send delegates to the General Convention but he was certainly way over yonder in England for this little shindig.

Still, I can’t help but believe that the presence and noise of those who thought that the Indaba process was a waste of time or who thought that a statement condemning the Episcopal Church have a few less friends and fans tonight than they may have had a few weeks ago. But then, I live in both optimism and in hope – optimism that people can change their minds as they witness the rabid nature of misogyny and homophobia and hope that God can change even the most recalcitrant hearts.

The presence of the Integrity, Changing Attitude and others group was phenomenal. The work that they did, the impressions they made, their impact was huge.

Bishop Gene’s quiet and unobtrusive presence, regardless of the silly news reports, was a testament to the unfairness, to the ludicrous nature of the entire debate. If you won’t talk to us, how will you ever know us? The only thing to fear is the incredible need for some to remain obtusely ignorant. Again, in the wake of his quiet, prayerful calm, those who oppose him only appear frantic and desperate. May God have mercy on them.

Basically, I agree with Sean Rowe, the bishop of Northwestern Pennsylvania. Overall, there will be a price to pay for the fact that there was not an official “teaching” resolution emanating from the great pontiffs of the Anglican Communion (my words, not his) demanding the castration or annihilation of all gays and lesbians yet as Bishop Rowe states, “it is a price worth paying.” My hope lies in the idea that whatever price that must be paid, it will not be a fee demanded once again solely from the LGBT population of this Church.

Pray for those LGBT persons in countries without bishops like Sean Rowe, Jon Bruno and others who are willing to speak out. Theirs will not be an easy life over this next decade. Hopefully, they will eventually gain by our belief in moving forward with the Holy Spirit.

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