Will we even get as far as a Moratorium?
The Clone thinks I’m wrong to give it one last go:
These are people who want to be called Anglicans but reject the doctrine of the Prayer Book and the Articles. These are people who want to be called Christians but reject orthodoxy and the authority of Scripture. We are better off without them.
The difference with Singapore, of course, is that the small island state has territorial integrity, They have boundaries that should remain untouched. The Kingdom which is not of this world, however, has no such boundaries. A reluctant declaration of independence for loyal Anglicans is not bound by such restrictions, rather any defence of the Gospel requires that we sweep such restrictions aside. They are, after all, not Biblical. We work side by side with like-minded Gospel partners, seeking to encourage them and assist them.
In this I think that the Clone is wrong. Peter, for the sake of charity and the moral high-ground, wants to call us to a moratorium on border-crossing. The problem is we’re not in the situation of Singapore in the opening of 1965. We’re beyond struggling to make this work. We’re at the point of July 1965 when it’s clear that nothing is going to work. The other party have no intention of playing ball. Taking a break will not persuade them, nor is there a moral high-ground that still needs winning.
Of course, given what Gene and the TEC GLBT lobby are saying, he could be right:
General Convention 2009 will be significant for the Episcopal Church. Here’s what I hope for: When the Church gathers — and remember, our Church gathers ONLY when laity, clergy AND bishops meet together — I hope we will declare ourselves, claiming a piece of Gospel ground and standing on it.
Through the actions of our General Convention, I hope we will say to the Communion, "You know, we have listened carefully to what you have had to say to us. We deeply regret that our actions cause you distress, even a diminishment of your ability to evangelize in your context. But we must minister in and to our OWN context, as best we can discern God’s will for us. We will no longer observe (or pretend to observe) the moratoria on consecrations and blessings. We will abide by our own canons which (in two different places) bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and if and when a partnered gay or lesbian person is elected by the clergy and laity of a diocese, we will consider them for consent as we would any other. And we will proceed to ask the Standing Liturgical Commission, over the next triennium, to develop authorized rites for the blessing of same sex unions, to be brought back to the 2012 General Convention. This will necessarily involve our articulation of the theology of blessing which underlies this action, which you have asked for. We will no longer sacrifice the faithful gay and lesbian members of this Church for the sake of a unity we seem unable to define." That is my hope, and that is the work we have to do in preparation for the 2009 General Convention.
That, my friends, is as close to a declaration of war as it gets. Unless the TEC House of Bishops comes out in their September meeting and declares a moratorium, the game is up. I still believe we should give it one last go, that we should demonstrate one last time that we are willing to have unity with truth, that we will cease that which is painful to others and let those others cease that which is painful to us.
I may though not get my wish, and it’s looking very, very clearly that the fault will lie squarely at the feet of the TEC House of Bishops, who despite Gene’s waffle about having to wait till General Convention (and here’s the rub – Gene is happy for dioceses and bishops off their own back to allow same-sex unions, but apparently only General Convention can forbid them – go figure), have the power and the ability right now to say "No".
I fear though that they will not, in which case they have caused schism, which is not to say that we should not be self-aware enough to search our own hearts whether we should also cry "mea culpa".