Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Some Anglicans Are More Equal Than Others

I want to refresh your memory in regards to my response to the passage of B033 at General Convention 2006:

...The world was watching to see if at least one segment of the Body of Christ would reject the self-righteous bigotry that they have come to expect from those who call themselves Christians. And we have shown them that we're not any different from the Falwells and Robertsons that regularly make a mockery of our faith. Most likely many will shrug and say they were not surprised, and then turn to the next page of the Wall Street Journal. We have crawled back into that box the secular world has built for us; a box that is quickly becoming irrelevant in many people's lives anyway.

I'll tell you one thing: I will never refer to myself as an Anglican again. We have created a golden calf that is not worthy of our worship, let alone our respect.

Keep in mind that this will not be enough for Anglican bigots like Peter Akinola. TEC is going to continue to be treated like a naughty child who must be disciplined. We have managed to not only compromise our integrity, but have also produced nothing that will be considered acceptable to the Communion. We blinked.

My heart is broken. Beyond that, I am outraged. There must be consequences created for this act of cowardice...
That remains my position today. I do not describe myself as an Anglican. In fact, if the Archbishop of Canterbury's Advent Letter is symbolic of what it means to be an Anglican today, I reject that designation even more emphatically.

In that letter, he made it clear that the only reason he is not ready to give up on the Episcopal Church is because of the existence of the "Windsor Bishops," and others who proclaim their loyalty to the Anglican Communion, and are willing to sacrifice a minority of their members in order to maintain those ties to Canterbury.

This loose affiliation of Churches formerly known as "the Anglican Communion," is becoming more structured, and certain segments, such as the Primates, are claiming more authority for themselves. In his recent letter, Dr. Williams, who is known to be very careful in his choice of words, referred to "the Anglican Church." Isn't it obvious what direction things are headed?

Keep in mind that Dr. Williams has also spoken about a "two-tiered" membership in the Anglican Communion. Those who do not follow what he understands to be the consensus of the Communion will be stripped of all positions of leadership, effectively silencing them from the councils of the Communion. But, technically, they will still be members, meaning they will still be expected to contribute funds for the maintenance of the Anglican Consultative Council and the Lambeth Conference.

"All Anglicans are equal, but some are more equal than others." I suppose we should not be surprised by such an Orwellian direction, as that appears to be what Dr. Williams understands the Communion consensus to be; based on the questionable interpretation of seven passages of scripture, gay and lesbian Christians are to be denied a place at the Communion table; they are to be counted among the "less equal."

How else can we understand Bp. Robinson not being invited to Lambeth? Beyond that, this means the people of New Hampshire will not be represented. For what reason? Because Bp. Robinson had the audacity to be honest. Do keep in mind there will be more than a few gay bishops at Lambeth. Quite possibly some of them will even be there representing the Southern Cone. But they will remain in the closet, and so will be honored for their duplicity.

What the Archbishop of Canterbury is doing to Bp. Robinson, and the people of New Hampshire is wrong. It is symbolic of the bigotry that continues to infect the Church.

By participating in Lambeth, we affirm such bigotry. Attending is wrong. It's really that simple. Those who attend will show who they really serve; the idol of the Anglican Communion, not the living God.

Personally, I don't care what the Anglican Communion does. Let the extremists have it. And, if I were a bishop, I most certainly would not surrender my integrity in order to prop up this illusion we call the Anglican Communion.

How far are we willing to compromise ourselves? When do we draw our line?

I think we need to draw that line now. We do nothing. We do not respond to any more requests from the Communion. We do not participate in any more of their meetings or events. We don't send them another dime. No announcements. No grand statements. Just a quiet refusal to participate.

And then let this golden calf we call the "Anglican Communion" do what it wants. If they desire that we continue with them, we will consider such an offer. If they want to strike our name from their list, so be it.

We need to move past this, with our integritry intact. To continue to engage those who are determined to twist the message of the Gospel is accomplishing little, and deeply damaging our witness to the world.

Let it go, folks, for our own sakes, and for the sake of the world.


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