Sunday, August 03, 2008

A Modest Proposal in the Wake of Lambeth 2008

I can't say my first "modest proposal" got much traction in the Episcopal Church, much less in the Anglican Communion. But let me try another one.

When I got home from church today and scanned the blogosphere to find the results of the Lambeth Conference, I was disappointed, but not surprised. Perhaps I'll do a little more analysis and commentary later today; I do not know.

As I read of the demand for TEC to extend the moratorium on gay/lesbian bishops and on authorizing rites for same-sex blessings, I am disinclined to do so. As I've said before, the Episcopal Church has been one of the few provinces of the Anglican Communion that has been "Windsor-compliant," whereas many provinces of the "Global South" have flagrantly violated Windsor with their parish- and diocese-poaching and their flagrant violation of human rights for gay/lesbian persons.

I kept asking myself: How in the world can our General Convention next summer extend the moratoria in the face of the bad deeds of Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, and the Southern Cone and of the way they have continued to demonize the Christians in the Episcopal Church?

Out of the blue, a phrase from Scripture came into my head: "test the spirits." Though raised in the Southern Baptist Church, practiced in Bible memorization, and a consistent winner in "sword drills," I couldn't recall the source. But Bible Gateway is a delightful resource in such times.

There it is, in 1 John 4:1:
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world.
Let us test the spirit that is within the Global South and its U.S. allies, and see whether theirs is the Spirit of God, or the spirit of power and greed.

Our church suffered much when it adopted resolution B033 in 2006. Those moratoria will remain in effect at least until the General Convention next summer.

Now the Global South primates have one year to show that they are willing, in good faith, to accede to the third moratorium that Windsor and the Primates and the Lambeth Conference consistently have called for: the cessation of border-crossings. And since the Windsor Continuation Group called for the three moratoria to be retrospective, here's what the Global South primates can do to earn my trust:
  • Let each of them withdraw from one of the parishes or dioceses they have claimed from within the U.S.
  • Or let each of those primates recall one of the irregularly-consecrated bishops to live in the African province that consecrated them.
Just one! One parish or one bishop. Not wholesale withdrawal. Just one small gesture of reconciliation from each of these Global South primates.

And in that spirit of reconciliation, let's see
  • the bishops of Fort Worth and Pittsburgh delay their schismatic votes until after the General Convention of 2009.
Are they willing to make some small sacrifice for the sake of reconciliation? If they do not even wait for our GC vote, then they clearly have not been honest about the real reasons for their actions.

Archbishop Williams asked all the bishops at Lambeth what they would be willing to sacrifice for the sake of the Anglican Communion. Many in TEC have already sacrificed. Let's see one sacrifice from the Global South primates (and this allies) who have been so outspoken over these five years. If they make it, I may be inclined to be generous at GC2009. If they do not, I believe it will prove that nothing – absolutely nothing! – TEC could do will ever be enough. It will prove to me that the "spirit" of GAFCon (now reconstitued as the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans [FOCAs]) is one of darkness and power, not of reconciliation or of the Spirit.

The Episcopal Church took a huge step in 2006, and nobody has joined us in "stepping back." Let us see if anyone else will step back before we make our decisive votes next summer. I will be waiting and watching.


Blogger WSJM said...

Lisa, this strikes me as a generous and irenic proposal. I hope this one gains more traction.


8/03/2008 8:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm with you now.

8/03/2008 9:31 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Thanks, Bill & Scott. It seems rather simple to me. A simple gesture of good faith. A move toward each other. If what the bishops are saying from Lambeth is true, this shouldn't be too difficult. And it would make my life here much simpler.

8/03/2008 9:57 PM  
Blogger Leonardo Ricardo said...

Do you think this will occur to them at the next Global South Meeting or perhaps the Primates Meeting in November...what about Bishop Duncans busy plans? Ought not Bishop Schofield turn over the keys to Bishop Lamb? Maybe the California Supreme Court will hold back from tossing Orombi out of property in the Diocese of Los Angeles...will Greg Venables, who said this week he will change nothing, listen to your plan? How do we score, what's enough, what's unexceptable...I think we've been here before...making deals, even imagined honorable ones, with folks who have bad records just isn't smart...why don't we approach this like business people instead and shut down the dead weight and expand our best sellers?

We've got best sellers like crazy and we can resupply them if we get rid of the deadly "prior stock!"

8/03/2008 10:48 PM  
Blogger Suzer said...

Wait and watch, but don't hold your breath, my friend.

8/04/2008 8:47 PM  

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